Jezik / Language:
15 July 2016

Prisoners ‘Beaten Every Day’ at Kotor-Varos Prison

BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A prosecution witness recalled how he and other prisoners were regularly beaten in cells behind the court in Kotor-Varos after being captured by Bosnian Serb troops in 1992.

Prosecution witness Halil Cirkic told the state court on Friday said that he and a few other men, including some minors, were beaten up in a school building in Vrbanjci after he was captured by the Bosnian Serb Army in the village of Cirkino Brdo in the Kotor-Varos municipality on September 28, 1992.

He said the detainees were then transferred to a prison located behind the court building in Kotor-Varos.

“They were waiting for us. They beat us up,” Cirkic testified.

He said that defendant Nedeljko Djekanovic was among those who beat him.

“I had not known Djekanovic from before, but others told me his name. Other men, whose names I did not know, beat us as well. They hit us with kitchen table legs,” Cirkic said.

He said his neighbour Avdo Vilic was stabbed in his neck, but the injury was not a dangerous one.

“When they came for the second time in order to beat us, he just sat down. He did not move at all after having been hit in his head. They hit him in his lower legs and took us out to the toilet. When we came back, Avdo was no longer there. I did not see him again after that,” the witness recalled.

He said they were beaten two or three times a day while held at the prison in Kotor-Varos.

Bosko Peulic, Slobodan Zupljanin, Aleksandar Petrovic, Manojlo Tepic, Janko Trivic and Nedeljko Djekanovic are charged with participating 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 are accused of committing persecution by means of murders, deportation, detention, torture, rape and forcing people to do hard labour.

The indictment alleges that Peulic was the commander of the Third Tactical Group of the Bosnian Serb Army, Zupljanin was the commander of the Second Battalion, Petrovic was the commander of the First Company with the Second Battalion, Tepic was the commander of the Territorial Defence in Kotor-Varos, Trivic was the commander of the 22nd Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, while Djekanovic was the president of the Kotor-Varos municipality and president of the local Crisis Committee.

Also on Friday, at the trial of Mirko Vrucinic for crimes in the Sanski Most area, a prosecution witness said he was beaten up after having been detained in a cell in the police building in the town in 1992.

Witness Ilijas Sinanovic said he was detained in a cell next to the police building together with an imam called Emir Seferovic and another man for 45 days.

“They beat us every day,” Sinanovic said, adding they were sometimes beaten three times in one day alone.

He said that after 45 days, he was transferred to the Manjaca detention camp.

But he said that Seferovic stayed in the cell, adding that he later heard that the imam and another prisoner were found dead.

Vrucinic, the former chief of the Public Security Station and a member of the Crisis Committee in Sanski Most, is charged with participating in a joint criminal enterprise that included murders, forcible resettlement, unlawful detention and forcible disappearances committed from April until December 1992.

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