Macedonia will pay compensation to the families of two Roma who died in prison

The prison in Stip Photo: MIA

The government will pay a total of 24.000 euros to the families of two Roma men who died under suspicious circumstances while in prison in 2017, the European Roma Rights Center said.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has closed two cases following an agreement reached between family members and the government.

Andrias Redzepov, a 21-year-old Roma man, died in the Idrizovo Penitentiary on March 11, 2017. The ERRC states that he was reported to have died of a methadone overdose even though he was not addicted to drugs. There is evidence that Redzepov was tortured in the hours before his death. His parents will receive compensation of 6.000 euros each.

Yusinov Erdal was a 25-year-old man who died on March 22, 2017 in the prison KPD Stip after he was not provided with medical care in the hours before his death. Yusinov was married and the father of a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. In this case, too, there are allegations that he was harassed by prison guards and doctors. His sister will receive compensation of 12.000 euros.

The ERRC says that these deaths are part of a series of four suspicious deaths of Roma prisoners over a period of 9 months in 2017, in several prisons throughout Northern Macedonia. In northern Macedonia, they say, the pattern of deaths involving drug overdoses and allegations of ill-treatment has been going on for several years, for which the ERRC initiated lawsuits in 2010.

- The whole of Northern Macedonia should consider each of these tragic deaths as a shame for their country. This is the third case in recent years in which the ERRC has sued northern Macedonia and provided thousands of euros in compensation to the families of the dead - and will continue to investigate all cases of suspicious deaths and take legal action if authorities refuse to take responsibility for their wrongdoings. . Since 2017, such mistakes have cost Macedonian taxpayers more than 33.000 euros in damages, and the ERRC has other cases awaiting resolution. This should be a message to those responsible that institutional discrimination is costly, and we will make sure it costs you dearly, said ERRC President Gjorge Jovanovic.

Although an amicable settlement means that no verdict of condemnation will be handed down to the competent authorities in Northern Macedonia, according to the ERRC, the payment of compensation in this amount to some extent addresses the seriousness of human rights violations and can be considered a tacit recognition of guilt by the Government of Northern Macedonia.

The ERRC case regarding the suspicious death of another Roma man, Bekim Demir, 39, is still pending before the ECtHR.

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