Court in Macedonia releases policemen from charges of beating a Romani man

On March 10, the first instance court in Štip, Macedonia, found the charges of Mr Jašar Perušan against the Macedonian Ministry of Interior to be unfounded. After reportedly being severely physically abused at the police station in Ĺ tip in April 1998 (see „Snapshots from around Europe", Roma Rights, Spring 1998), Mr Perušan, a 34-year-old Romani man, filed criminal and civil complaints against the police. On March 10, 1999, Mr Perušan was again detained in relation to a previous offence and physically abused by the police, on the day that the third hearing in the trial was taking place.

The court ruled that there was no evidence that the injuries inflicted upon Mr Perušan were caused by the police and at the police station. Also, the court did not accept as valid the medical certificate issued to Mr Perušan the day after the initial incident. Mr Perušan's lawyer, supported by the ERRC, appealed the verdict. Ongoing ERRC research in Macedonia indicates that police brutality, especially police brutality against Roma, is endemic and that police officers are rarely if ever adequately sanctioned for breaches of conduct and physical abuse (see ERRC country report A Pleasant Fiction: the Human Rights Situation of Roma in Macedonia).

(ERRC)

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