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INFO   :::  Press Release - PAGE 3 > Continuous Tension in South Serbia


Continuous Tension in South Serbia

Belgrade, November 22, 2011

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia is deeply concerned over recent developments in the municipality of Medvedja, South Serbia. On Saturday, November 19 in the village of Grbavica a local police officer assaulted villager Ismailj Sokolj in his own backyard. Mr. Sokolj was seriously hurt in his head with a grip of police handgun.

Two policemen had showed up at Mr. Sokolj's door and told him to immediately join other villagers fighting a local fire. He said he was a sick man (a bad heart condition) and was not allowed to exert himself. Then one of the policemen hit him several times.

Townsfolk immediately took the unconscious Ismailj to the local medical center, wherefrom he had to be transported to Leskovac because the nature of his injuries. Citizens then went to the local police station to report the incident. They were told there that the unnamed perpetrator of this serious crime had been placed under 48-hours suspension. However, many witnesses spotted him sitting at leisure in the police station.

We request the Ministry of the Interior to responsibly investigate the case and take adequate measures against perpetrators. In a continually tense interethnic climate such incidents could easily trigger off much more serious tensions.

We also draw the Ministry's attention to the fact that professional behaviour of the police is crucial for the establishment of interethnic confidence and coexistence.



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