Police abuse of Kosovar Romani refugees in Yugoslavia

05 December 2000

On September 26, 2000, at about 8:00 AM, a traffic officer beat Mr Skender Gaši, a 27-year-old displaced Romani man from Kosovo currently living in Belgrade, according to testimony provided to the ERRC and the Belgrade-based non-governmental organisation Humanitarian Law Centre (HLC). Mr Skender Gaši, his three borthers, Mr Naser Gaši, 19, Mr Šerif Gaši, 30, Mr Dževad Gaši, 28, and their father, Mr Imer Gaši, 54, all from Kosovo, were driving across the Pančevački bridge in Belgrade on a tractor, when two traffic officers indicated that they should pull over. They did so, and one of the officers reportedly approached them and, without saying anything, began to hit Mr Skender Gaši in the face, first with his hands and then with his radio telephone. The officer also reportedly used obscene racial insults. The officer then asked for his ID card, and when Mr Skender Gaši gave him his refugee ID card the officer threw it on the ground and trod on it. He told Mr Skender Gaši to pick it up, and when he bent over to do so, the officer reportedly kicked him in the groin. After this the officer told the Romani men to go. When Mr Skender Gaši was back on the tractor, the officer pointed a gun at him, and with obscene language told them that if he ever saw them again in Belgrade, he would kill them. During these incidents, the second officer was regulating the traffic. Mr Imer Gaši told the HLC that they would not file a complaint against the traffic officer because they were afraid of reprisals.



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