Racially-motivated violence against Roma in eastern Macedonia

15 July 1999

On April 23, in Vinica, eastern Macedonia, a group of non-Romani youths beat Amet Asanov, a 16-year-old Rom. According to testimony the victim's brother Šenil Asanov provided to the ERRC, on April 11, Šenil was playing basketball with three other young Roma in the courtyard of a local elementary school, when a non-Romani man approached them, saying that they should leave as it was „no place for Gypsies". The man physically attacked Šenil and tried to drive him away from the courtyard just at the time that Amet arrived. The latter intervened and rescued his brother. Nevertheless, according to testimony Amet Asanov provided to the ERRC, on April 19 the non-Romani attacker, joined by a large group of other non-Roma, waited for Amet in front of his school. Amet was in the school building at that time - his friends informed him of the group outside, and he ran out through a window. The same group of non-Roma assaulted Amet on April 23 in the school yard. They kicked and punched him, and beat him with baseball bats all over his body. Amet Asanov tried to escape but could not, as there were many attackers. He was saved by one of the school teachers who chased the assailants away. As a consequence of the beating, Amet suffered bruises all over his head, arms, back and legs. Out of fear of further attacks, Amet refuses to go to school any more. Amet Asanov's father immediately reported the attack to the local police, who responded that it was not in their jurisdiction, as all involved in the incident were minors, and it took place in the schoolyard. In the opinion of the police the school as an institution should have reported the case to them. The Romani parents then talked to the school authorities, who called a meeting of the parents of students involved. Only two mothers of Macedonian students attended the meeting; the school reportedly took no other measures against the attackers or in the protection of Romani students. The ERRC and the Gostivar-based organisation Mesečina have provided the victim with legal representation.

In Kočani, a group of ten non-Roma reportedly beat a 21-year-old Romani man named Ivica Redjepov. On May 2, at around 6 pm, Mr Redjepov was walking with his girlfriend through a forest in the nearby Široki Pat settlement. They were approached by a group of ten non-Roma, who called Mr Redjepov a „Gypsy" and immediately attacked him, apparently without reason. The attackers punched Mr Redjepov until a passer-by shouted at them to stop. While they were running away, one of the group took a look at Mr Redjepov's face and said that he was „not the one they were looking for" and that they „beat him for nothing". Mr Redjepov's left leg was injured in the attack and his left eye was bruised and swollen. He reported the attack to the police, but no investigation had been opened as of June 23.

(ERRC)

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