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Yougoslavia, Federal Rep.of
14.01.02
Urgent Interventions

Yugoslavia: police brutality in Tutin, Sandzak region

Case YUG 140102
Aggression and other attacks/Impunity

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Yugoslavia.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has received information from the Greek Helsinki Monitor and the Humanitarian Law Center concerning an incident of police brutality in Tutin, Sandzak region, Yugoslavia.

According to the information received, on December 31, 2001 the proprietor of a Tutin café called the local police authorities when a fight broke out in his locale. Responding to the call, officers Dragan Lukovic, Belja Kurtovic and Slobodan Nurkovic arrived at the scene, at which point they stopped and threatened Mr. Murat Pepic on the steps of the café. Officer Kurtovic then drew his pistol, cocked it and used the butt of his gun to strike Mr. Pepic on the head. According to the report, as Mr. Pepic attempted to escape further beatings, officer Kurtovic grabbed him by the hair, and fired a pistol shot close to his head. Officer Nurkovic then handcuffed Mr. Pepic, threw him into the snow, and along with officer Kurtovic proceeded to kick and beat him for roughly twenty minutes. Officer Lukovic is also said to have struck Mr. Pepic repeatedly with his nightstick.

According to the report, due to the officers’ beating, Mr. Pepic was rendered unconscious until after his arrival at the hospital. Mr. Pepic was treated at the Health Center in Novi Pazar and at the Belgrade Emergency Treatment Center, for injuries to his kidneys, head and ribs.

According to the information received, one bystander who attempted to defend Mr. Pepic was pushed aside by an officer, while another, also attempting to aid Mr. Pepic, was deterred by an officer’s gunshot fire into the air.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is deeply concerned by this arbitrary attack by police officials against Mr. Murat Pepic and the threats proffered against innocent bystanders, all of which are in violation of both Yugoslav police regulations and international human rights standards. OMCT is also gravely concerned that the perpetrators of this attack will not be brought to justice, and that they will continue to be active within the police force. According to the information received, criminal complaints filed last year on behalf of 27 victims by the Sandzak Committee for Human Rights, regarding acts of massive misconduct by police in Novi Pazar and Prijepolje in 1993 and 1994, have yet to result in judicial proceedings against the perpetrators, who still remain active within the police force.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Yugoslavia urging them to:

i. guarantee adequate reparation to Mr. Murat Pepic;
ii. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the attack perpetrated by officers Dragan Lukovic, Belja Kurtovic and Slobodan Nurkovic, bring them to trial and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iii. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

· His Excellency Vojislav Kostunica, President of The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Predsednik SRJ, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Fax: (+ 011 381) 11 636 775 /(+ 011 381) 11 636 682) / (+ 011 381) 11 636 167 E-mail: VojislavKostunica@gov.yu

· His Excellency, Prime Minister, Predsednik Savezne Vlade, Bulevar Mihaila Pupina 2, 11070 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (+ 011-381) 11 636 775 or (011-381) 11 659 682

· His Excellency, Minister of Justice, Ministar pravde, Republicko Ministarstvo za pravosudje i optu upravu, Namanjina 26, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Fax: (011-381) 11 361 6590

· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fax : + 38 111 681 572

Please also write to the embassies of Yugoslavia in your respective country.

Geneva, January 14th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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