During the night between the 2nd and 3rd of February 1997, during conflicts between police forces and the citizens of Belgrade one of our colleagues was injured. His name is Rastko Kostic and he is a second year student on the School of Philology, member of the Student Protest 1996/97 Main Board and a reporter for the student newspaper "Znak". He was on Republic square during the conflicts in order to make a report on these events, when he was assaulted by five police officers (after some time two more officers joined in). Rastko wore a noticeable ID card for the student paper. Our associate paid him a visit at the Belgrade Trauma Center, where he got the following statement from him:

"I did not take part in the demonstrations on Branko bridge. I was writing an article at home when I heard on the radio what was going on at the bridge and that the citizens were moving towards Republic square. I headed in that direction to gather info for the report I was going to make on this event. When I got there I blended with the crowd where my tape recorded dropped out of my hand. I bent down to pick it up and at that moment five policemen surrounded me i pushed me to the ground. I showed them my PRESS ID, when two more policemen joined them. I was lying on the ground while they were kicking me and clubbing me over my head. I tried to protect my head with my hands, but one police officer pulled my left hand from my head and started squashing it with his boot. The rest of them beat me for about 2 minutes, I felt when they knocked my two front teeth out and that my head was bashed up, because I was bleeding. Then they noticed that a reporter of the BK television fell down near by and broke his camera. The left me there and started towards him, so I managed to get up and run into a crowd of people that were near by, while another policeman continued to run after me and beat me over the head with a club. Citizens helped me get to a vehicle of the Anlave hospital which rushed me to the Trauma Center."

Rastko has a great gash on his head (17 stitches) and a fractured nose, two front teeth knocked out and a crushed left hand. He has no body (abdomen) injuries. We found out from Mr. Kosta Nadj, member of the Lawyers Association of Belgrade that they are always in contact with Rastko and his doctors, but in spite of pressure, a written demand and promise by the Head of the Neurosurgical ward of the Trauma Center, Mr. Zivorad Djordjevic, for the inspection of records of reception to the clinic do not exist. Mr. Nadj said that they would pay a visit to the hospital again, insist to take a look at the records, bring criminal charges against all people manipulating the injury records of Rastko Kostic, and his parents shall decide if he shall be moved from the Trauma Center, because all this questions his personal security.

Photos © Goran Kovacevic

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