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Serb Fighter Beat Kosovo Albanian for Aiding Journalists, Court Told

Two witnesses told Pristina Basic court on Tuesday that defendant Caslav Jolic, together with other members of Serbian forces, physically assaulted and injured a local ethnic Albanian in the village of Gurrakoc/Djurakovac in the Istog/Istok municipality in 1998.

Prosecution witnesses Lush and Gjon Palokaj claimed that the victim, Zef Malesia, accompanied several foreign journalists to the site of a Serbian helicopter crash where he was then beaten by several members of Serbian forces, including Jolic.

“According to what I have seen, Zef was also injured in the head and on the left side of his lip he had a cut,” Lush Palokaj told the court.

He first claimed that five people had beaten Malesia but after being confronted by the defendants’ lawyer with statements given to the police, Palokaj then said there were only four assailants.

The second witness, Gjon Palokaj, said that in May 1998 his cousin had told him that Malesia had been assaulted.

“He was with those journalists and he was beaten up,” Gjon Palokaj said, citing his cousin.

He said that the first time he saw Malesia after the alleged assault, “his face was swollen, black on Sunday and swollen on Monday”.

Jolic is accused of using methods of torture against civilians in the municipality of Istog/Istok during the Kosovo war.

The indictment says that in 1998, a person identified only by the initials Z.M. brought British and Belgian journalists to the site of a Serbian military helicopter crash in the Blagac neighbourhood of the village of Gurrakoc/Djurakovac in Istog/Istok.

Five people wearing Serbian police uniforms, including Jolic, then beat Z.M. up for 20 minutes, in the presence of the journalists, for bringing them to the scene. Z.M. fainted as a consequence.

Malesia himself testified in court in June, telling the court that he had been beaten for ten minutes non-stop by Jolic and others.

“I was also kicked and hit with the butt of a pistol, I had the upper part of my teeth broken by them,” Malesia claimed. He added that “Jolic hit me with the butt of the pistol”.

He further claimed that he was also threatened with death if he did not leave Gurrakoc/Djurakovac because he had been involved in organising protests in the municipality of Istog/Istok.

He also alleged that Serbian policemen had beaten up his son.

In the second incident listed in the indictment, a person identified only as N.F. was having coffee in a village restaurant in Gurrakoc/Djurakovac when five Serbian police officers, including Jolic, dragged him out of the café and assaulted him.

In a third incident, Jolic is accused of beating up a person with the initials N.C. on March 15, 1998 until several other policemen intervened and stopped him, according to the indictment.

Jolic has pleaded not guilty.

Source : BalkanInsight