Police Violence against Roma in Macedonia
7 November 2002
According to ERRC field investigation conducted in partnership with the Štip-based non-governmental organisation Association for Human Rights Protection of Roma (Združenie za pravata na Romite – ARRP), at approximately midnight on June 11, 2002, Mr Čelebi Šemov, a 39-year-old Romani man, was beaten by four police officers on the outskirts of Štip in central Macedonia. On June 12, 2002, Mr Šemov testified to the ERRC/ARRP that he and his friends were returning to Štip from gathering firewood in the mountains in two cars when a police vehicle carrying four officers met them. Mr Šemov reported that the car he was driving was stopped and he and his friend, Mr Nedzat Kamberi, were pulled from the car by the police, pushed to the ground and handcuffed. Mr Šemov testified to the ERRC/ARRP that the officer who had pulled him from the car punched him in the head, then grabbed him by the hair, lifted him from the ground and kicked him in the head. Mr Ruzdi Kamberi testified to the ERRC/ARRP on July 27, 2002, that he and the three other Roma in his car – Mr Ajdar Kamberi, his brother-in-law Sebastijan, and Mr Šemov's minor son Šemo, were also pulled from his car and ordered to lie on the ground, which they did.
According to Mr Šemov, an additional two police vehicles arrived at the scene and he, Mr A. Kamberi, his minor son Šemo, Mr R. Kamberi and Mr R. Kamberi's brother-in-law Sebastijan were reportedly taken to the police station in Štip. At the police station, Mr Šemov reported that the police took their personal data and issued them papers for confiscating their vehicles.
On June 12, 2002, when Mr Šemov visited the ERRC/ARRP, extensive injuries were visible on his face and he was advised to seek medical attention. Mr Šemov reported to the ERRC/ARRP that an ear, nose and throat specialist found that his nose bone was fractured and he had injuries to his face and teeth. On July 26, 2002, ARRP, in co-operation with the ERRC, filed a criminal complaint with the Štip Public Prosecutor's Office. As of September 30, 2002, the investigation was ongoing and the Štip Public Prosecutor informed the ERRC/ARRP that they had identified two possible suspects but that these had testified that Mr Šemov had been injured by a friend. For further information on the situation of Roma in Macedonia, visit the ERRC's Internet website at: http://www.errc.org/publications/indices/macedonia.shtml
(ARRP, Cerenja, ERRC)