Police beat Romani man in Macedonia

07 November 2001

According to ERRC research in Macedonia, on July 22, 2001, police officers in the Macedonian capital of Skopje severely beat Mr Naser Ali, a 32-year-old Romani man from Skopje. According to the July 30, 2001, statement of Mr Ali to the Republican Organisation for the Protection of the Rights of Roma - Skopje (Republicka organizacija za zastita na pravata na Romite - Skopje), Mr Ali was sitting in the city park near the local zoo with two friends at around 4 PM on the day of the incident, when they were approached by two plainclothes police officers. The officers identified themselves and asked Mr Ali to come with them to the Beko police station for a short conversation. Later, at the police station, unnamed police officers interrogated Mr Ali in connection with the recent killing of an in-law, and requested that he provide the current whereabouts of two suspects. Mr Ali replied that he did not have this information, after which, according to the victim's testimony, the officers allegedly punched him and beat him with truncheons all over his body. Mr Ali reported being released from police custody at approximately 7 PM on the same day, with instructions to report at the police station two days later. Immediately after being released, Mr Ali went to the Skopje Military Hospital for an examination. A medical certificate issued on July 27, 2001, based on medical evidence obtained July 23, 25, 26 and 27, 2001, states that there were visible contusions all over Mr Ali's body, especially his head, shoulders and back, and confirms grievous bodily harm. Mr Ali did not return to the police station, as instructed, two days after first being detained. On August 30, 2001, Mr Ali submitted a complaint to the National Ombudsman's Office. However, despite his submission of the medical certificate as well as photographs depicting severe bodily injuries in accordance with the statement, on October 24, 2001, the Ombudsman's Office decided not to pursue action against the officers involved, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to prove alleged torture. According to the Ombudsman's investigation as reported to the ERRC, Mr Ali was allegedly held at the police station for only one hour, and during his investigation the police officers did not employ physical force, except when Mr Ali displayed "arrogant behaviour and insulted the officials at the police station, after which [he] was slapped on the face." The ERRC is considering legal action on behalf of Mr Ali. Police violence against Roma in Macedonia is endemic. The ERRC knows of no instances in which officers who have allegedly physically abused Roma have been prosecuted.

Mr Naser Ali, shortly after he was released from police custody in Skopje, Macedonia, July 22, 2001.
Photo: ERRC

(ERRC, Republican Organisation for the Protection of the Rights of Roma - Skopje)

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