(en)ITUSC protests murders by Serb authorities

Sun, 16 Mar 1997 09:33:21 GMT

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During a picket outside the Serbian Embassy, Lexham Gardens, London on 14 March 1997, the following letter from the ITUSC was to be handed in for despatch to Slobodan Milosevic, President of Serbia. It protests the death in police custody of Besnik Restelica and many Albanian trade unionists in Kosova; demands an end to such murders and the use of torture of detainees and; the release from gaol of all political detainees.

The picket was advised by the Metropolitan Police on duty, that the Embassy officials refused to accept the letter, would not open the Embassy door and that anyone crossing the road from the picket to the Embassy would be arrested. The Metropolitan Police have their own problems arising from the death in custody of a growing number of black detainees and undoubtedly feel a kinship with their counterparts in the brutal regime led by the war criminal and Stalinist, Slobodan Milosevic.

You are urged to publicise these savage events in Kosova and send your own protest to the President of Serbia.

Mr. Slobodan Milosevic,

President, Republic of Serbia, Sreskin Vladara 14, Belgrade.

Mr. President,

Murder of Mr. Besnik Restelica

We write to protest the murder of Mr. Besnik Restelica by members of the Serbian state security forces. Mr. Besnik Restelica was arrested, along with 15 other Albanian people in Pristina, on 30 January 1997. On 23 February, his father was informed that his son had 'committed suicide' three days earlier.

The widespread reports of tortures committed by the Serb-run prison authorities in Kosova, lead us to believe that the death of Besnik Restelica was either a direct act of murder or as a result of his ill-treatment by your officials.

His was the sixth death of an Albanian in police custody in Kosova this year. In late 1996, Mr. Feriz Blakqori, of the Union of Education, Science and Culture of Kosovo, was the third member of his union to die whilst being held in police custody. Our grief at these sad losses to the workers' movement, makes us more determined in our struggle to assist those in the former Yugoslavia who work towards the establishment of mutual tolerance, mutual respect and multi-culturalism amongst all workers in the region.

We demand an end to these murders, the end of torture of detainees and the release from gaol of all political prisoners.

We shall be circulating this protest to all those associated with the ITUSC throughout the world.

Yours faithfully, KEITH STANDRING General Secretary _____________________________________________________________________ This is from the International Trade Union Solidarity Campaign (ITUSC) at:- e-mail: itusc@gn.apc.org website: http://www.itusc.org.uk 'snail' mail: PO Box 18, Epsom, Britain, KT18 7YR Tel/Fax ++44 (0) 1372 817 778

The ITUSC is an international and internationalist association of organised workers and communities, dedicated to rebuilding the workers' movement and to overcoming sectarianism and division in working class organisations. It was founded in 1991 on the following principles:

1) trade unions independent of the state and employers;

2) democracy within trade unions, and;

3) workers' internationalism.

Any individuals or organisations that accept these principles and are prepared to work for them, are welcome within the ITUSC as comrades. _____________________________________________________________________


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