Snapshots from around Europe

07 July 2004

The Štip-based Association for the Protection of Human Rights of Roma (ARRP) and ERRC sources reported that about twenty Roma sought medical help after they were beaten by the local police during a raid in Štip, western Macedonia. Shortly after midnight on August 3, a Romani man, Mr S. Jusinov, was returning home with four other members of his family from the local "Kruševo" restaurant, where a Romani religious circumcision party was taking place. Out in the street, a fight broke out between him and Mr Zoran Šorov. Mr Šorov is reportedly a European champion in free-style wrestling, and works for the local police as their gym trainer. Mr M. Jusinov, the father-in-law of S. Jusinov, also got involved in the fight, and after overcoming Mr Šorov the Roma went home. Mr Šorov apparently called the police and, shortly after that, ten policemen arrived at the restaurant, expecting to find Mr Šorov's alleged attackers. Without any explanation, the policemen started indiscriminately beating the Romani men, women and children present. Mr Seljami Demirovski, whose son's circumcision was celebrated, described the event to the ERRC, "There were around fifty guests at the party, when ten policemen came into the restaurant. I approached them and asked them what they wanted, but they started to beat me and other guests with their truncheons." The police also fired two shots into the air. Another witness to the events, Mr Mefail Asanovski, was sitting further inside the restaurant and could only see that there was fighting going on at the entrance. He called the police, who told him that a squad had been sent there already. When Mr Asanovski hung up, he saw a policeman standing next to him, who grabbed him by his hair and started beating him; four other policemen joined. One of the policemen took a child out of the arms of Ms Remzije Durmišova, a Romani woman in the seventh month of pregnancy, threw the child on the floor and then started beating her with his truncheon. After the policemen hit her on her back, Ms Durmišova felt a sharp pain in her abdomen. Her husband tried to protect her, but then he was attacked as well. At the end of the raid, which reportedly lasted about 45 minutes, Mr Durmišov asked the police to help him take his wife to the hospital, which they refused. Mr Durmišov managed to arrange for transport to the Štip hospital. The doctor on duty, however, refused to examine Ms Durmišova after hearing that the latter had been beaten by police. Ms Durmišova was received and examined at the same hospital the next day, where the doctors informed her that her baby's health was not jeopardised.

Twenty other Romani persons beaten during the raid also asked for medical help at the same hospital, but were turned down as they could not pay for the services.

According to the ARRP, in the following two days seven Roma in Štip were individually taken to the police station in relation to the raid and were beaten there. Mr Amdi Djeludinov, a 25-year-old Rom from Štip, had witnessed both the fight in the street and the police brutality in the restaurant. Mr Djeludinov told the ERRC that the next day the police took him to the station, where the policemen beat him for two hours, insulted his ethnic origins and once pointed a gun at his head, after which Mr Djeludinov falsely confessed that he had been involved in beating Mr Šorov. "This is not the first time that the local police in Štip exercise brutality against Roma without any consideration whether the Roma are guilty or not", Ms Enise Demirova, president of a local Roma organisation Čerenje, told the ERRC. The ARRP have filed a criminal complaint against the Štip department of the Macedonian Ministry of Interior.

(Association for the Protection of Human Rights of Roma, Čerenje, ERRC)

 

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