HRA welcomes the third opening of the investigation of police torture of the late Aleksandar Pejanović. Mr. Pejanović was brutally beaten twice by numerous members of the special intervention police unit while in police detention unit in Podgorica known as ”Betonjerka”, between 31 October and the 2 November 2008. Court experts (three of them) established a combination of 19 aggravated and light injuries on his entire body. Pejanović was later murdered in front of his home on May 2011. For his murder the court sentenced policeman Zoran Bulatović.
The brutal beating of Pejanović in police custody is a serious stain on the Montenegrin police, and to date it remained inappropriately researched and punished. CPT criticized ineffective performance of the state prosecutor in this case in its report on the visit to Montenegro in 2013 (paragraph 20). Although six police officers in charge of police detention unit were originally indicted, three of them (Ivica Paunović, Milan Kljajević and Milanko Leković) were fined with minimum penalties, for helping abusers. These police officers opened the prison doors to their colleagues from the special police unit who came in to brutally beat Pejanović. It should be noted that all three police officers, as well as other two who were acquitted in the meantime, claimed that during the disputed period nothing suspicious had happened and that Pejanović had not been hurt at all. Furthermore, the Internal Control Unit (ICD) of the Police concluded in March 2009 that none of the police officers involved in the alleged beating had overstepped their authority.
Unlike them, police officer Goran Stanković testified that the ill-treatment did happen and that it was “ordered from above” and that he was pressured and threatened to abandon his post. That was the main reason Luxembourg provided him later with political asylum. His honourable act is not enough to wash the stain from the reputation of the Montenegrin police inflicted by its members who ordered and carried out the brutal beating. The impunity promoted by this case later encouraged similar behaviour of the police later on.
HRA hopes that the new investigation will lead to the appropriate punishment of all Pejanović’s attackers, their aides and instigators. We hope that justice would be served, even after so many years, in accordance with Montenegro’s obligation to respect the human right to absolute prohibition of torture.