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26 February 2015
News

Prison Guards Couldn’t Confront the Red Berets, Witness Says

Arnes Grbesic BIRN BiH Doboj

Former guards testifying at the trial of former prison guard Branislav Ninkovic said that prisoners were killed and taken away at the Doboj prison.

Ninkovic is charged with participating in the torture and abuse of arrested non-Serb civilians at the Doboj prison from May 1992-March 1993. His trial is being held at the District Court in Doboj.

Former prison guard Dragoljub Radulovic said he was aware of an arrest warrant that was issued for Jozo Matanovic (deceased), on June 5, 1992. He said it was signed by duty guard Miroslav Petricevic, also deceased.

“I heard that they carried that man [Jozo Matanovic] into the prison after he had been beaten up. They carried him out dead a short time later. I heard that from my colleagues. I don’t know exactly who told me that,” Radulovic said.

Radulovic said that people were arrested without warrants during the first month of war in Dobroj. He said that guards, including Ninkovic, were not able to confront armed members of the Red Berets paramilitary unit, who used to enter the premises and beat prisoners.

Radulovic said Marko Kikic (deceased) was in the prison, but he neither heard nor saw any of the guards beat him. He said that Avdo Kurtovic (deceased) was taken away by members of the Red Berets paramilitary unit, who took two groups of twelve prisoners away. Those men never came back.

According to Radulovic, the Red Berets read people’s names from a list, and those people were taken away. He said those names were registered in the prison’s records.

Former prison guard Dragoslav Knezevic said that guards didn’t participate in the mistreatment of prisoners.

“During one of my shifts members of the Red Berets entered room number eight, where at least thirty people were held, and called Saban Ibrakovic’s name. When they called his name a third time, Ibrakovic said it was him. He was then beaten up,” Knezevic said.

Former prisoner Jasmin Musanovic said he spent the entire war in the Doboj prison, for having committed a murder.

“I didn’t hear that anyone beat the prisoners. I used to see the defendant during his shifts. He acted normally. He would give me cigarettes and bread,” Musanovic said.

The trial will continue on March 18.
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