Amnesty International's concern for safety of Hasan Hoti and
Fri, 28 Nov 1997 12:58:50 +0000


27 November 1997

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 70/33/97
EXTRA 162/97 Fear for safety / Legal concern

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA Hasan Hoti, lawyer, and his family Other
lawyers defending ethnic Albanians

Nait Hasani and 18 other ethnic Albanians

At around 8pm on 18 November 1997 three unidentified armed men, believed to
be Serbs, broke into Hasan Hoti?s apartment in Pristina, the capital of
Kosovo province. One of the men pointed his gun at Hasan Hoti?s chest
while two others grabbed his wife by the hair and dragged their daughter
into the room. The men then beat Hasan Hoti and his wife, while verbally
abusing him in Serbian, before leaving. The reason for the attack is
believed to be Hasan Hoti?s role as defence lawyer for a group of 19 ethnic
Albanians facing trial on charges of terrorism and murder. Amnesty
International remains seriously concerned for his safety and the safety of
his family and colleagues on the defence team.

After the attack, Hasan Hoti and his wife sought medical help and obtained
medical certificates stating that they had both suffered bruising and
scratches to the body and face.

On 24 November, as the trial of the 19 ethnic Albanians was resuming, the
team of defence lawyers stated that they no longer felt safe after the
attack, which they believe was the direct result of Hasan Hoti?s
involvement in the trial, particularly his cross-examination of a Serbian
police officer who had testified as a witness in court on 18 November. The
court has decided to postpone proceedings in the case until 2 December.

Amnesty International is further concerned that the trial does not meet
international standards of fairness. One of the defendants, Nait Hasani,
was held for a month in unacknowledged detention earlier this year and was
reportedly tortured with electric shocks as his interrogators tried to
force him to sign self-incriminating statements. Similar trials which
concluded in May and July 1997 were apparently seriously flawed: the
defendants stated in court that confessions had been extracted from them
under torture and defence lawyers were denied access to documents and to
their clients. Two of the accused in this present trial are being tried in

See also Further Information on UA 38/97 (EUR 70/10/97, 3 March 1997), and
News Service Item 181/97 (EUR 70/32/97).


The trial of Nait Hasani and 18 others on charges of terrorism and murder
began on 27 October 1997 and is the third trial held this year involving a
large number of ethnic Albanian defendants who were charged with violent
acts committed in 1996 and 1997 against Serbian civilians, police officers
and Albanians who were seen as "loyal" to the Serbian authorities.

Amnesty International has been seriously concerned for many years about the
deplorable human rights situation in Kosovo province and the apparent
impunity which has followed violent attacks on ethnic Albanians committed
by civilians and by police. While the attack against Hasan Hoti and his
family is the first of such incidents to have happened during this trial,
other lawyers in Kosovo province have been subjected to political violence
and harassment.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, French, German, Russian or your own language:
- calling on the authorities to do everything in their power to ensure the
safety of Hasan Hoti and other lawyers representing ethnic Albanians. You
should state that this is an obligation of the state which is explicitly
laid down in the United Nations (UN) Basic Principles on the role of
lawyers which state, among other things, "Governments shall ensure that
lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without
intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference... (principle
16) and that "Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of
discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the
authorities (principle 18);
- calling for a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation into the
attack on Hasan Hoti and his family, the results of which should be made
- noting the government?s role in bringing to justice those responsible for
violent crimes, such as those of which Nait Hasani and his co-defendants
have been accused, but that proceedings must conform to international
standards for fair trial;
- expressing concern that Nait Hasani and others similarly accused have
reportedly been tortured and ill-treated in order to extract confessions
from them.


Prime Minister of the Serbian Government
Predsednik Vlade Republike Srbije
Mirko Marjanovic
Nemanjina 11, 11000 Beograd, FR Yugoslavia
Faxes: + 381 11 659 682; + 381 11 682 167
Telegrams: Prime Minister, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Minister of Internal Affairs
Vlajko Stojiljkovic
Ministar unutrasnjih poslova Republike Srbije
Kneza Milosa 101
11000 Beograd, FR Yugoslavia
Telegrams: Internal Affairs Minister, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Faxes: +381 11 641 867; +381 11 685 937
Salutation: Dear Minister


Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms
Xhavit Mitrovica 15
38000 Pristina

and to diplomatic representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 29 December 1997.