Romani Boy Beaten After School in Tetovo

03 April 2006

According to reports submitted to the ERRC by the Kumanovo- based non-govenmental organization National Roma Centrum (NRC), Sojozer Ramadani, a Romani student in the first grade at an agricultural highschool in Tetovo, testified that at around 1:00 pm on November 21, 2005, he was attacked by a group of Albanian students from a nearby medical high school while waiting for the bus with his cousin, Emran Ramadani, and their friends, also Romani students. Sojozer and his friends were speaking Macedonian among themselves when a group of Albanian students began to provoke Romani girls, cursing and insulting them. Sojozer, in defense of his friends, asked the Albanian boys, in Albanian, why they were provoking the girls. The group responded with further insults and asked Sojozer why he was speaking Macedonian.

A fight reportedly broke out between the two groups, during which 6 Albanian students attacked Sojozer, striking him on the head and body until he was on the ground covered in blood. One of the boys then removed a metal box from his pocket and began beating Sojozer with it. Nevija, one of the girls, trying to protect Sojozer, was pushed to the ground and kicked repeatedly. The Albanian students then escaped by car and Sojozer's friends took him home in a taxi.

Once home, his mother and grandfather called his father and they took him to the hospital. Doctor Miomira Neskoska examined Sojozer, and after finding that he had sustained injuries to his head and body and had a fractured nose, prompted the family to report the incident to the police. Sojozer's family was reluctant to report the incident. Doctor Neskoska then reported the incident to the police who subsequently interviewed Sojozer and his family. According to Sojozer's father Ismail, Inspector Dimce took a description of the boys from Sojozer and his cousin. One of the boys was apprehended the day after the incident. Police visited the school in search of information but none of the other students would testify to having witnessed the incident.

According to Mr Ramadani, Sojozer stayed home from school to recover for several days and his parents were reluctant to send him to school because they fear for his security. Sojozer's family lives in the Potok settlement amongst Roma, Macedonian and Albanian families, in the same settlement where most of the boys' families live. Two of the boys' fathers reportedly approached Sojozer's father to discuss the incident. As of 9 March 2006, Sojozer still does not attend school out of fear and investigation against attackers has not been completed.

(ERRC, NRC)

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