Items like this just underscore the rationality and desirability of Albanians living under Albanian rule and justice. And the rationality and desirability of forming a bigger, unified Albania — so they can all live under one happy Albanian roof. It really sucks that Albanians don’t know Albanians very well.

Kosovo Police Beating Complaints Pile Up (Balkan Insight, via Eurasia Review, Nov. 15, by Petrit Kryeziu)

When police in Gjakova picked up Agim Domgjoni and accused him of stealing from a factory three years ago, Officer Sejfedin Shkreli beat him so badly that he had to be sent to hospital, he told a court last month.

“Sejfefin ‘Sefa’ came to my home at 11pm,” Domgjoni told Balkan Insight. “He took me to the police station and beat me as hard as he could with punches and kicks to my stomach and then opened a drawer and showed me three wooden and plastic canes and asked me to ‘pick one’” he added.

“He then continued to beat me until I ended up in hospital.”

Domgjoni’s complaint is standard fare in Gjakova, where Balkan Insight has obtained similar allegations from 16 other witnesses who also said they experienced beatings at the station.

A report by the Council of Europe last month described beatings by Kosovo Police during arrests and at stations as a serious problem.

“The allegations concerned in the main punches, kicks and blows with batons at the time of apprehension, as well as slaps, punches, kicks [including to the genital], striking the person with hard objects, or squeezing of the hand with a pencil being placed between two fingers, and beating on the soles of the feet by police officers attempting to obtain confessions during questioning,” it added.

“In some cases, the severity of the alleged ill-treatment was such that it could easily be described as torture,” it continued.

“Overall, it would appear that the situation as regards to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by the KP has stagnated if not deteriorated since the 2007 [Council of Europe] visit.”

Agim Domgjoni was found not guilty of theft at the municipal court in Gjakova in October 2011, after which he decided to speak out on BIRN’s Justice in Kosovo show, which was aired a fortnight ago.

But instead of launching an investigation into police misconduct following the broadcast, Gjakova police last week arrested him again, accusing him of having “threatened” a police officer in one of the quotes he gave to Justice in Kosovo.

Pjeter Ndrecaj, another crime suspect who was later released, was also beaten at the police station in Gjakova, he said.

“They grabbed my hair and punched and kicked my face until my lips were cut and my nose broken,” he recalled.

Balkan Insight visited the regional hospital of Gjakova to secure the medical reports of persons who said they had been beaten by the police.

But the search was in vain; different departments at the hospital each claimed that another had the relevant documents.

Some of those claiming to have endured violent and unprovoked police beatings in the western Kosovo town were teens.

In spite of the number of accusations of police beatings aired in court, prosecutors in the town have yet to take action.

The Chief Prosecutor of Gjakova, Shpresa Bakija, said she had now “requested all records from courts where defendants have complained of the use of force by the police.

“I will also ask prosecutors to explain why investigations have not begun on time,” Bakija said.

[P]olice regularly questioned defendants without the presence of a lawyer, which is illegal.

The Municipal Court of Gjakova has declined to comment on allegations that they use evidence obtained under duress.

The commander of the police station of Gjakova, Bekim Avdija, told Balkan Insight that he required permission from the police spokesperson in Pristina to comment on the claims.

The spokesperson in Pristina then referred us to the regional police HQ in Peja, while police in Peja directed us back to Gjakova.