Articles on the Kosovo Conflict
MEDICAL GROUP APPLAUDS RELEASE OF DR. FLORA BROVINA,
URGES SERBIA TO FREE REMAINING POLITICAL PRISONERS
November 1, 2000
CONTACT: Physicians for Human Rights
Nathaniel A. Raymond, Media and Public Affairs Coordinator
Today, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica ordered the release from Pazarevac Prison of Dr. Flora Brovina, a renowned ethnic Albanian physician, poet, and human rights activist. Physicians for Human Rights, a noted human rights organization based in Boston, has continuously advocated for the dismissal of Dr. Brovina's case since her December 9, 1999 sentencing on charges of terrorist activity.
Before her imprisonment, Dr. Brovina was a pediatrician and prominent human rights activist, especially on issues affecting women and children. The "terrorist actions" that led to her conviction included the provision of wool for sweaters, food, medical supplies and treatment to alleged members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). She resolutely denied any involvement in the actions of the KLA and repeatedly stated that she was only fulfilling her duties as a doctor, responsibilities protected by humanitarian and Yugoslavian law.
Despite this major development, Physicians for Human Rights is still concerned about the approximately 800 ethnic Albanian prisoners remaining in Serbian penal facilities, 600 of which are believed to be political prisoners like Dr. Brovina. Physicians for Human Rights urged President Kostunica to quickly secure their release. Since last year's NATO bombing, over half of the initial 1,922 ethnic Albanians detained by authorities in Serbia have been freed.
"It is heartening to see the new government in Belgrade work to reverse the injustices of its predecessor," stated Leonard S. Rubenstein, Physicians for Human Rights' Executive Director. "Still, justice will not be fully served until all those wrongly held in Kosovo and Serbia are released and returned to their families."
Physicians for Human Rights mobilizes the health professions and enlists the general public to protect and promote the human rights of all people. PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its role as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.