Roma Protesters Allege Police Brutality in Kosovo Town


Kosovo police have launched an investigation into an allegation of police brutality towards a Roma youth while he was in custody in the town of Gracanica.

Dozens of people from Kosovo’s Roma community protested in the mainly Serb-populated municipality of Gracanica, just east of the capital Pristina, on Tuesday, accusing police of physically assaulting a Roma youth who had been taken into custody on August 19.

A local Roma rights NGO, Opre Roma, has shared photos of what it says were injuries sustained by Burhan Ibrahimovic at the hands of police in Gracanica after he was reported over an incident involving a woman in the town. BIRN was unable to ascertain Ibrahimovic’s age.

Driton Berisha of Opre Roma called on authorities “to carefully investigate” the case and hold those responsible to account.

Kosovo’s Police Inspectorate, PIK, confirmed it had launched a preliminary investigation into police behaviour.

“Referring to your request, PIK confirms that it has received a complaint from the citizen and it is at preliminary investigation stage,” said PIK spokesman Arber Beka.

Addressing the crowd outside the Gracanica police station, Berisha of Opre Roma said the Roma community in Kosovo “has been exposed to violence, discrimination and marginalisation for generations”.

“We are not here to incite hatred or division,” he said. “We tell those who exercise violence against our community that those actions will not be tolerated and will not be rewarded with our silence all over Kosovo.”

Source : Balkaninsight