PUBLIC PRESSURE AIDING IN RELEASE OF KOSOVAR PRISONERS
AS SERBIA'S SIX MONTH DETENTION DEADLINE PASSES By Alice Mead
ASSOCIATION OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
KOSOVA ACTION NETWORK
KOSOVA HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION
January 14, 2000
There is reason to hope that the widespread public pressure regarding the Albanian prisoners detained in Serb prisons is leading to far more releases, stated Natasa Kandic, executive director of the Humanitarian Law Center. Her human rights organization is working for the release of all the prisoners. The vast majority of them are being held without charges or evidence and the six month holding period is long past.
Dr. Flora Brovina, whose trial received international publicity and whose harsh sentence of 12 years in prison based on a forced confession and a photograph as evidence, is up for appeal possibly this Monday, January 17th. Kandic urges all those who spoke out about the trial at that time, to speak out again on the unfairness of the court's proceedings and the blatant lack of evidence.
Albin Kurti, the student activist who led the demonstrations to reopen the University of Prishtina, was arrested in late April, 1999 and after being severely tortured at the police station in Prishtina, was sent to Lipjan Prison with his father and brother, who were released in late May.
Albin was transferred to Pozhrevac Prison until the last week in December, 1999. He is now being held in Nish, yet according to HLC in Belgrade, there is no evidence against him, he has never had a court hearing, and there are no charges. He has been detained for eight months at this point, well past the six month deadline, and his case (which does not exist at this point) is so grievously flawed that it should be immediately dismissed, stated Kandic.
She added that the majority of prisoners continue to suffer in the prisons without any formal charges against them. According to Yugoslav law, they should be dismissed as well. Kandic believes that Albin Kurti's case may be up for review very shortly, that being the probable reason he was recently transferred to Nish. She urges human rights advocates to act quickly on behalf of protecting the civil rights of both Brovina and Kurti.
Return to Balkan Witness Home Page