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23 October 2014
News

Injuries of Prisoners in District Prison

Arnes Grbesic BIRN BiH Doboj
As the trial of Branislav Ninkovic continues, a Prosecution expert witness says that many injuries of prisoners were registered in a book of medical examinations in the District Prison in Doboj.
Court expert Ljubomir Curkic said that the book of medical examinations contained records, indicating that prisoners Hasan Krdzalic, Sakib Hurtic, Avdo Kurtovic, Stjepan Jelec, Rasim Colic, Fadil Ahmic and Hasan Krdzalic had head contusions, wounds caused by explosive devices and open wounds, but no other data about the injuries was included.  
 
Curkic said that, as per an order by the Basic Court in Doboj, he performed an autopsy of prisoner Marko Kikic’s corpse on January 29, 1993 and that he determined injuries in the area of forehead and hands, as well as hematoma on his body.
 
“His death was caused by an acute heart infarction, but the mentioned injuries could have provoked, but not caused the death, which was natural,” Curkic said.
 
Finally, expert witness Curkic said that, on the basis of medical documentation he determined that injured party Saban Ibrakovic had a few broken ribs and that such injuries could have been caused by hits with a baton or other non-sharp mechanical tool, as well as legs and hands.
 
“At the time, when they were made, those were severe bodily injuries,” the expert witness said.
 
Injured party Ibrakovic failed to appear at the hearing today. Trial Chamber Chairwoman Snezana Banjac-Lopandic said that he spoke with an advisor for support to witnesses with the District Prosecution and that it was recommended to the Trial Chamber to “be considerate when dealing with the witness due to his health condition”.
 
The Trial Chamber decided to invite Ibrakovic to the next hearing.
 
The indictment charges Ninkovic, former guard with the District Prison in Doboj, with having participated in the torture and abuse of arrested non-Serb civilians in 1992 and 1993.
 
Following the examination of the expert witness, District Prosecutor Slavko Krulj read statements given by prisoners Nahid Mrkaljevic and Hasib Subasic, who have since died.
 
In his statement given in 2001 Mrkaljevic, former employee with the Safety Services Centre in Doboj, said that he saw when guard Dusan Vukovic from Golubinja, near Knin, who held “a wooden chair leg with a screw”, took Marko Kikic from the prison cell to an empty room. After that he “heard beatings and moaning for about half an hour and then just hits.”
 
Mrkaljevic said that other prisoners told him that “guards Ninkovic, Nedeljko and Stanisa Miljanovic beat plumber Jozo Matanovic in the most brutal manner at the Doboj hospital”. Matanovic died after that.
 
Also, he mentioned that guard Vojin Lukic, who was drunk, took Saban Ibrakovic from the cell and beat him up. He said that the prisoners were held in inhumane conditions and that food was bad, adding that “only guard shift chiefs, including Branislav Ninkovic”, could let members of the Red Berets enter the prison. Those members used to beat prisoners up using baseball sticks and rifle butts.
 
In his statement given during the investigation in 1998 Hasib Subasic mentioned that prisoners, who were held in the Doboj Prison, were “beaten up to exhaustion” and that “the Ninkovic brothers, a man named Stanisa and a man nicknamed Tuzlak” were the guards.  
 
The trial is due to continue on November 17.

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