Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Macedonia Police Deny Brutality

There was no excessive use of force against those detained in November’s anti-extremist operation, police said after footage showing alleged police brutality prompted calls for the interior minister’s resignation.

The police spokesman Ivo Kotevsi told Balkan insight on Tuesday that “an internal police investigation carried out straight after the action has proven that all procedures were observed”.

Macedonia’s opposition has called for a no-confidence vote in the Interior Minister, Gordana Jankulovska, after footage, probably taken with a mobile phone camera was aired on local media.

The recording shows a detainee, Habib Ahmeti, face covered in blood and bruises, wearing a green uniform, sitting in what appears to be an interrogation room.

Ahmeti was one of those arrested in a major police operation against an armed ethnic Albanian group in the north-western village of Brodec.

Xhevat Ademi, a legislator from the main ethnic Albanian opposition party in Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration, announced the no-confidence motion on Monday.

“There is no country in the world in which the minister can stay in office after that kind of footage appears in public,” the Vice-President of the main opposition Social Democratic Party, Jani Makraduli, told media on Monday.

On Monday the police confirmed the authenticity of the film, but claimed that the injuries seen were sustained during the arrest and not in the course of the subsequent interrogation.

In November, the police launched an operation aimed at a 15-strong armed group of criminals and extremists hiding in the village north of the town of Tetovo.

The clash left six gunmen dead and several injured.

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