Back to 'Hope' News Hope on the Balkans
News and Opinions

Actions filed against Serbia for police misconduct

BELGRADE, Sunday - Humanitarian Law Center attorneys have filed 38 legal actions against the Republic of Serbia, seeking 9 million 440 thousand dinars in compensation for 51 persons for violation of their human dignity, rights and freedoms through unlawful police conduct in the period from January to 24 September this year. The suits were filed with municipal courts in Belgrade, Kraljevo, Vladicin Han, Leskovac, Velika Plana, Pancevo, Sremska Mitrovica, Babusnica, Sombor, Prijepolje, Becej, Smederevska Palanka, Kikinda, Backa Palanka, Kragujevac, Subotica, Pozega, Novi Sad and Vranje. The plaintiffs will be represented in court by Humanitarian Law Center attorneys.

The plaintiffs, mainly young people, were unlawfully detained by police, questioned about their political opinions, fingerprinted, physically and mentally abused, their homes were searched and promotional literature confiscated simply because they were activists of the Otpor movement and non-governmental organizations, or members of opposition political parties.

HLC attorneys have asked the Municipal Court in Vladicin Han to award 500,000 dinars each to seven youths who were physically abused by three police inspectors on 9 September.

On 26 May, police came to the apartment of Dalibor Loznica in Loznica, searched it without a warrant and seized propaganda literature. Loznica was taken to the police station where he was photographed and fingerprinted, questioned by an inspector who used a loud tone of voice, and held for 16 hours. Loznica is seeking 300,000 dinars compensation from Serbia for the violation of his human dignity and freedom of person.

Marinko Varnjas of Subotica filed for 300,000 dinars compensation for the mental pain he suffered through being unlawfully detained some ten times, and physically and mentally abused by police only because he was an Otpor activist. Varnjas, an asthmatic, told the police of his condition when he was taken in on 5 July. The officers nonetheless cursed, threatened and slapped him, owing to which Varnjas suffered a severe asthmatic attack that evening.

Andrija Civtelica of Belgrade was detained on 29 August because he was wearing a T-shirt with the Optor emblem. An officer whose badge number was 104537 punched him in the chest and insulted him. Civtelica was held in the police station for three and a half hours and was fingerprinted and photographed for police files. He seeks 120,000 dinars compensation from the Republic of Serbia.

On behalf of M. R., a juvenile, the HLC filed a civil suit against Milutin Pantelic of Nis, a member of the World War II Veteran's Association. On 8 September, Pantelic physically and verbally attacked the fifteen-year-old boy only because he was posting an Otpor sticker. HLC attorneys charged Pantelic with infliction of slight bodily harm and threats to personal security, two offenses for which the law envisages a maximum of one year and six months in prison respectively.

Source: B92

Back to 'Hope' News | Hope on the Balkans: News and Opinions