Amnesty International Report 2002
(Covering events from January - December 2001)

June 1, 2002

Reports of ill-treatment and torture by law enforcement officials were widespread. Very few of the suspected perpetrators were brought to justice. Many of the victims, some of whom were minors, were Roma. Law enforcement officials continued to use firearms in circumstances prohibited by international standards, resulting in deaths and injuries. Conditions in many institutions for adults with mental disabilities amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Restrictions on the right to freedom of expression continued to be imposed. An organization of ethnic Macedonians was prevented from holding a peaceful assembly.

OMO "Ilinden"

In March, the Blagoevgrad Public Prosecutor initiated a criminal investigation for incitement to racial or national hatred in connection with leaflets distributed by the United Macedonian Organization "Ilinden" (OMO "Ilinden"), calling on the residents of the region to declare themselves in the census as Macedonians. However, no one had been charged by the end of the year.

In July, police prevented OMO "Ilinden" activists from holding a peaceful assembly to commemorate a national anniversary. Three activists filming the police action were detained for three hours before being released without charge. In October the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the authorities had violated the right to freedom of assembly and association when they prohibited OMO "Ilinden" activists from holding similar commemorative meetings in the period between 1994 and 1997.


       
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