Monday, April 13, 2009

Arrested because he yelled "Down with the communists"


A young man was arrested on April 7th in the evening. He asked us to keep his identity secret for the cruel violence and slander he had to endure just because he told his opinion about the governing party. Although he had gone through misery, he proved an outstanding power: the power of righteousness.
Me: Tell us, please, what happened?
A: I was with a friend in front of the Mayor’s Hall in the evening on April 7th, after we have been haunted down everywhere and among people there were many attackers. At one moment, one of them started provoked one guy to fight. The policemen intervened and stopped the fight arresting the one who was the victim. There were many of us who saw what happened and at one moment after the police started haunting down the ones who were yelling, and the ones who were in front and who were intensively protesting. As I saw how they were arresting young people for no reason, I yelled: “Down with the communists”. After that, a big guy about 40 years old was staring at me and I tried to move backwards but this is where it ended – two cops came from behind, put my hands behind my back, put me in a car with another two other young guys they grabbed from the nearby location. We were taken to the police station.
Me: Did you try to resist the arrest?
A: No, I didn’t, because I understood it would only make it worse since I was surrounded only by policemen. In the car, one guy turned around, he was about 30-35 years old, and started hitting us with his fist, slandering like never before. He hit everyone. After we got to the police station they took us in the parking lot where there were already many other people. We were told to put our hands on the wall.
Me: How many people were approximately in the parking lot?
A: About 15-20, a lot came after that.
Me: What happened afterwards?
A: As we were standing with our hands on the wall, a policeman was walking behind us hitting us in our backs, especially in our kidneys and maligning the worst way possible. A few people were taken somewhere close and you could hear how they were beaten up. Policemen were watching the rest of us and we were told to keep looking at the wall.
Me: How did the police explain your arrest?
A: They didn’t give us a reason for why were arrested.
Me: So, if you can recall how long were you outside standing in front of the wall?
A: It was different for everyone. It took about an hour for the police to resolve the issues with the underage people. After that there were people who waited for another three hours. Some people were taken inside the station to be put on file and where they were beaten up even more. People said that they were hit in the kidneys and stomach
Me: Were your rights read before the interrogation?
A: No, I wasn’t even allowed to make a phone call. By the way, when they told us to face the wall, they told us to disconnect all of our phones.
Me: Did anyone ask about the right to a lawyer? What were they doing to you when you asked questions?
A: May asked to call their parents, relatives, but nothing – for those kinds of questions the answer was violent punches and replies like: “Shut up! You should have thought before where you went and what you did!”
Me: What happened after you were in jail? How many of you were there?
A: Until being put in prison, they documented each case. We were asked questions like: “Who paid you to get in the street?” followed by fist fights.
Me: What kind of things were you accused of?
A: We were blamed for trying to overthrow the government. We were told that everyone who protested will be suspected. We were told that we took part in hooliganism actions. The reality is that none of that happened – there were two masked people during the protests who were knocking down garbage cans. Besides those provokers, there were others who would just jump out of nowhere. Some of my friends and I witnessed how they were hitting children, even girls and hit them, and the policemen did nothing, pretending they don’t see a thing.
Me: Did they open a penal file on your name?
A: They opened an administrative one reasoning that I was part of hooliganism actions. Everyone was interrogated and beaten up. They told us to sign that we won’t repeat any of those actions again, and afterwards we were taken to the cells.
Me: Were you allowed to read what you signed?
A: I didn’t read anything because they told us to sign, and I think someone said that they will sign only after they read. In the end everyone signed because any asked question ended up in more violent responses.
Me: How long were you kept at the station?
A: I was there until 7-8, after they took our finger prints. At 9, we were put under trial in front of a policeman.
Me: Were you parents present as well?
A: No, everyone there was around 18 and up. The underage kids were let go in the evening.
Me: So the trial took place at the station? What happened after?
A: The trial took place exactly at the station. Before this we were taken outside for a bit where there was everyone who was arrested. Some of them look really bad; you could easily tell they were beaten up.
Me: This means they had visible injuries?
A: The policemen hit in such a way so that the face wasn’t bruised. Some of them still were, many were crying because they hurt badly.
Me: You were supervised by the police all this time you were outside?
A: No, were in an outside room that had bars and everything. The bathroom was close by and we were told to wash ourselves if we need to. After that we were called downstairs one by one. That’s where were put under trial in front of the policeman.
Me: What happened after?
A: After we were facing the wall they said: “Get out one by one – you are free”, but two young people were kept for another 24 hours. We left and then got in the station to pick up our stuff that we had before we were put in cells. After that we left.
Me: What are the consequences of the violence and abuse of the police towards you? Were you in the hospital?
A: No, fortunately, I had to go through less. However even today, my kidneys hurt. I know that one of the guys who was arrested with us ended up with brain concussion.
Me: Do you know if the parents of that guy filed a claim for abuse?
A: No, but I know they got the fingerprints and they were planning on filing with ECHR (European Court of Human Rights). As far as I know they haven’t done anything because he is still in a critical case.
Me: Did the police threaten you as far as telling what has happened – meaning continuing the violent fights?
A: Not personally. I cannot speak on behalf of everyone else, and unfortunately I cannot remember, but I think there were some that were threatened. They threatened us that we won’t be students anymore, that we will be expelled out of the universities we are studying at.
Me: How did your parents react? What about the administration of your high school?
A: My mom was shocked; she couldn’t sleep for a whole night. I haven’t said anything at my high school.
Me: How did this influence your opinion about what happened on April 7th?
A: It just proved one more time how discriminatory the police is, that my parents didn’t sleep, all my relatives, and I think the same: this is a reaction of the youth, adults, and everyone who don’t have a future in this country, but worse those who don’t even have a present, because they are forced not to live but to survive.
Me: What is your message for those who don’t agree with the results and continue to protest?
A: Yes, I believe that these are the worst times ever and we have to show solidarity. We have to be strong and not allow ourselves to be provoked, and most important we have to inform people, we have to gather proofs about the fraud elections and all the wrong actions done by the government forces in the last few days. Also we must not forget the person who died and everyone that we have no idea what will happen to them. We have to gather and publish all the frauds done by the government and police.
Me: Thank you so much for your declaration about what you had gone through. The crimes done by the governing party will be punished. I wish you health, belief in our victory and may God be with you!
A: Thank you! I wish you good luck in everything you do and may God help us all.

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