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Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Kosovo Province): arbitrary detention / ill-treatment

, N° d'index: EUR 70/005/1996

Ali Sadriu, poltical activist, Sami Dugolli, farmer, Zenun Dugolli, Ragip Heseti, head teacher, Habib Haziri, teacher, Raif Rushiti, humanitarian worker, Xhelal Rushiti, Hysni Baftiu, head teacher, Nazif Salihu, religious leader, Mahmut Mahmuti, religious leader, Isak Haxhiu, student, Xhavit Rama, student, Shaban Feka, Syleman Zuka and other ethnic Albanians: AI is concerned at reports of a recent escalation of police violence against ethnic Albanians in and around the town of Stimlje.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 70/05/96
This is a limited action. Please restrict appeals to 20 per Section.
UA 77/96 Arbitrary detention / Ill-treatment 20 March 1996
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIAAli Sadriu, political activist
(Kosovo Province) Sami Dugolli, farmer
Zenun Dugolli
Ragip Heseti, head teacher
Habib Haziri, teacher
Raif Rushiti, humanitarian worker
Xhelal Rushiti
Hysni Baftiu, head teacher
Nazif Salihu, religious leader
Mahmut Mahmuti, religious leader
Isak Haxhiu, student
Xhavit Rama, student
Shaban Feka
Syleman Zuka
and other ethnic Albanians
Amnesty International is seriously concerned about reports of a recent
escalation of police violence against ethnic Albanians in and around the town
of Štimlje in Kosovo province. Local human rights activists claim that in
February 1996 some 70 people were searched for arms or arrested for questioning
and that many were ill-treated, some severely. The situation has reportedly
been as bad or worse in the first half of March.
Police have carried out arms raids in many villages in the area, and have
arbitrarily detained many men for questioning about their political or
educational activities. A number of people have reportedly been beaten in
police custody in Štimlje or Uroševac before being released, usually without
charge. There have also been reports that police officers have in some cases
explicitly urged those under arrest to leave Kosovo: several people are reported
to have done so as a result of police intimidation.
Among those who have been arrested is Ali Sadriu, a leading local activist
of the Lidhja Demokratike ë Kosovës (LDK), the main political party representing
ethnic Albanians in the province, who was reportedly arrested on 6 March and
taken to police headquarters in nearby Uroševac where he was held for two hours,
questioned about his political activities and beaten. He reportedly lost
consciousness and suffered injuries for which he required subsequent medical
treatment.
Between December 1995 and March 1996 Sami Dugolli was repeatedly detained by
police in Štimlje and at least on some occasions severely ill-treated. To escape
further ill-treatment he has reportedly fled his home. His brother, Zenun,
is also reported to have been detained several times and ill-treated.
Ethnic Albanian teachers who have refused to teach according to curricula laid
down by the Serbian authorities and who hold classes for ethnic Albanian
children, often in private schools, have also been recently arrested and
questioned. They include Ragip Heseti, head of a primary school in Štimlje
who was reportedly ill-treated on 6 March and Habib Haziri, a teacher at a
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primary school, who is said to have been summoned for questioning almost every
day in the first two weeks of March 1996.
Others who are reported to have been recently detained for up to 10 or 12 hours
include Raif Rushiti, who works for a humanitarian organization, "Mother
Theresa", his brother, Xhelal Rushiti, Hysni Baftiu, head of a middle school
in Štimlje, local religious leaders - imams Nazif Salihu and Mahmut Mahmuti
- and Isak Haxhiu, Xhavit Rama, Shaban Feka (who is an invalid) and Syleman
Zuka. Some of these, including Syleman Zuka and Xhavit Rama, have reportedly
been beaten or otherwise ill-treated.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In July 1990 the Serbian parliament suspended the Kosovo parliament and
government after ethnic Albanian deputies of the Kosovo parliament declared
Kosovo independent of the Republic of Serbia. Since then most ethnic Albanians
have refused to recognize Serbia's authority in the province and a number of
"parallel" institutions (in particular in the fields of local government,
education and medicine) have been established by ethnic Albanians. Since the
outbreak of armed conflict in former Yugoslavia in 1991 police have almost
daily conducted arms searches in the homes of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
province, in the course of which they have frequently resorted to violence,
regardless of whether illegal arms have been found or not. Although these arms
searches take place throughout the province, certain areas appear to be
particularly targeted at certain periods. This appears to be the case at the
moment around Štimlje.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English, French or German, or your own language:
- expressing deep concern about recent reports of arbitrary arrests of ethnic
Albanians in Štimlje municipality and about reports that some have been severely
beaten or otherwise ill-treated by police (give names);
- urging the authorities to initiate a prompt, independent and impartial inquiry
into these allegations of arbitrary detention and ill-treatment;
- noting that torture and other ill-treatment are prohibited both under Yugoslav
national law and under international law;
- urging, therefore, that any persons found to be responsible for ill-treatment
be brought to justice;
- urging that police officers be informed of, and required to uphold,
international standards for law enforcement.
APPEALS TO
1. Chief of police, Uroševac
Na_elnik
Sekretarijat Unutrašnjih Poslova
382230 Uroševac, AP Kosovo i Metohija
Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Nacelnik SUP-a, Uroševac, APKM, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear Chief of Police
2. Prefect of Kosovo district
Na_elnik Kosovskog okruga
38000 Priština, AP Kosovo i Metohija, Yugoslavia
Faxes: +381 38 27791
Telegrams: Nacelnik Kosovskog Okruga, Priština, APKM, Yugoslavia
Saluation: Dear Prefect
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3. Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
Zoran Sokolovi_
Ministar Unutrašnjih Poslova Republike Srbije
Kneza Miloša 101, 11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia
Faxes: +381 11 683 041 or 685 937
Telegrams: MUP Srbije, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
1. Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, Priština:
Xhavit Mitrovica 15, 38000 Priština, Yugoslavia
2. The district public prosecutor of Priština
Okru_ni javni tu_ilac, 38000 Priština, AP Kosovo i Metohija, Yugoslavia
and to diplomatic representatives of Yugoslavia accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 6 May 1996.

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