Jezik / Language:
1 July 2016

Bosniaks ‘Beaten Every Day’ in Kotor-Varos Prison

BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A prosecution witness told the trial of six Serbs accused of crimes against humanity that he and other Bosniak prisnoners were beaten up in detention in Kotor-Varos during wartime.

Ahmet Cirkic, a former municipal councillor from the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in Kotor-Varos, told the state court on Friday that he was detained for 400 days in the town and regularly beaten, along with other prisoners.

“All of us were physically mistreated. Several men used to beat us every day,” Cirkic told the court.

He also said a few people died from injuries caused by the beatings, while three others were taken away and never came back.

Cirkic testified that after having been captured in Vrbanjci, he was taken to a café in the town, where he met defendant Slobodan Zupljanin, also known as Bebac.

He said that, while he was in the café, he was ordered to write down the names of people who had weapons.

“‘You want to negotiate. You ruled for 500 years. It is now time for me to rule.’ Those were Zupljanin’s words,” Cirkic said.

He said Zupljanin then issued an order for him and other captives to be taken away.

Responding to a defence question, the witness confirmed this was his only meeting with Zupljanin.

Zupljanin has been charged, along with Bosko Peulic, Aleksandar Petrovic, Manojlo Tepic, Janko Trivic and Nedeljko Djekanovic, with having participated in a widespread and systematic attack against the Croat and Bosniak population in the Kotor-Varos area from the beginning of June 1992 to mid-1994.

They have also been charged with committing persecution by means of murders, deportation, detention, torture, rape and forced labour.

Djekanovic has been charged as the former president of the municipality and the Crisis Committee of Kotor-Varos, while the other defendants have been charged as former commanders with the Bosnian Serb Army.

Also on Friday, while testifying at the trial of former Bosnian Serb soldier Pero Radisic for crimes in the Teslic area, a defense witness confirmed the statement he gave during the investigation, when he said a man named Zoran forced him to hit another man called Zulfo Memic.

Radisic’s defence had asked witness Amir Sadikovic to testify about his statement to the State Investigation and Protection Agency in May 2006.

Lawyer Vesna Tupajic-Skiljevic read part of the statement in which Sadikovic said that Serb soldier named Zoran forced him to take his clothes off while he was on the frontline and wave at the positions held by the Bosnian Army.

The statement also said that the soldier then ordered him to hit Zulfo Memic and, when he refused to do it, he was shot and wounded.

Testifying for the prosecution in July last year, Sadikovic said the defendant Radisic forced him to take his clothes off, but he was not 100 per cent sure whether Radisic forced him and Zulfo Memic to beat each other up.

Sadikovic also said he did not know whether it was Radisic who shot at him.

Prosecutor Milorad Barasin said last July that in his statement from 1996, Sadikovic said a man named Zoran had wounded him, but in 2007 he said it had been Radisic.

The witness was unable to give a precise answer as to which of these allegations was true.

Radisic, the former commander of a working squad with the Teslic Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, is on trial for participating in the physical and mental abuse of Bosniak civilians from 1992 to 1995.

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