The Ombudsman Raises The Concern For The Practice Of Continuous Obstruction In Conducting Its Own Mission By The Police
The Ombudsman’s Institution has again conducted the monitoring of the protest held on 02.06.2019 as well as the conduct of law enforcement bodies during and after this protest.
The Ombudsman notes that the generally peaceful manifestation of the vast majority of protest participants has been accompanied by various acts committed by a number of protesters, which cannot be classified as a peaceful manifestation of objections, by involving the throwing of noise bombs, smoke bombs, sportive torches and other non-military materials, but dangerous if misused.
During the second part of the protest, it was also noted the presence of young protesters (under 18 years old) using such means near the Parliament premises and therefore the Ombudsman is carrying out the relevant verifications.
The Ombudsman’s Institution again considers that the organization of protests should avoid and discourage in any case the use of violence or other forms similar to violence as means to achieve or promote the aims of the protest.
However, the Ombudsman remains concerned about the high level of polarization of the country's political language, which in many cases reaches the limits of the hate language, which automatically triggers a chain reaction that barricades citizens to antagonistic trenches and promotes behavior which leads to the excess of citizens’ rights or powers by the authorities, the violation of human rights, abuse, etc.
Also, the Ombudsman expresses regret for the damages of all kinds suffered by citizens as well as the law enforcement employees and disagrees with any circumstance that serves as a cause for these damages.
From the inspection carried out at the premises of QSUT and the Military Hospital, the Ombudsman’s team has ascertained that:
Only 1 (one) protester was presented at QSUT with signs of poisoning from the tear gas and concretely D.M. 54 years old, from Shkodra, who was receiving the necessary medical treatment from the medical staff.
At the Military Hospital, there were initially presented 10 police officers, of whom 6 were present at the time of inspection, all with light injuries on their legs or arms.
There were 4 (four) protesters of whom 2 were seriously injured.
E.B. 29 years old, from Fieri (protester) was injured on his leg by metal pieces (not yet defined).
I.Ҫ 52 years old, from Tirana (protester) was injured on the head and on various parts of the head.
The monitoring team has administered through the Chief Nurse of the Military Hospital, the whole list of people presented to the Military Hospital as participants in the protest.
Also, the Ombudsman’s teams have conducted inspections at the Police Directorate in Tirana as well as in all Police Stations where citizens escorted by the police, were sent after the end of the protest.
There have been repeatedly verified problems with the correct filing out of registers, such as the cause of the escort, as well as the details of family notification or the schedule of medical examinations.
The number of the escorted and then the detainees was large and, in some cases, limited to the reception capacities, which made it more difficult to correctly fill out all the procedures provided for by the legislation in force.
In a comprehensive balance, it was ascertained that:
At the Police Station No.1, there were 18 people escorted by the police, of whom, 7 received the arrest measure, while the others were released.
At the Police Station No. 2, there were 6 people arrested, of whom 1 arrested was transferred to the Local Police Directorate in Tirana.
At the Police Station No. 3, there were 12 people escorted by the police, of whom 6 were in custody.
At the Police Station No.4, there were 6 people in total, of which:
- 1 arrested person who was then transferred to the Local Police Directorate in Tirana.
- 4 people under non-custodial investigation
- 1 person who is aware of the circumstances of the investigation.
At the Police Station No.6, there were 8 people in total, of which:
- 4 arrested people who have been transferred to the Local Police Directorate in Tirana.
- 3 arrested people who have been transferred to the Police Station No. 5
- 1 person under non-custodial investigation.
In the Local Police Directorate of Tirana, there were escorted 16 people, of whom:
- 1 minor who was subsequently released
- 12 arrested people.
In this Directorate, there were transferred also 6 other people arrested by the above-mentioned Police Stations, thus 18 people arrested in total.
One of the people detained by the police officers, named D.K. has referred during the meeting with the Ombudsman’s team that at the time of entering into the escort premises of this body, after having started a debate with one of the police officers who had escorted him, the police officers had put him into the toilet and punched him on the face and in the abdomen.
The Police of Tirana continuously refuses any request of the Ombudsman to obtain photographic evidence from the people who claim to have been violated.
Disguised under the excuse of not allowing mobile phones in the premises of the police stations, the Ombudsman raises the concern that this obstructive practice is being transformed into an illegal restriction that is in conflict with the Ombudsman's mission, but also proves a non-cooperative approach from the side of the State Police.
This approach is added to the refusal to accept the Ombudsman’s request to make anti-gas masks available to enable the performance of the constitutional mission by our assistant-commissioners without being affected by the use of gas by the police during the protests.
Also, the Ombudsman’s representatives, in an open violation of the Constitution, were not allowed by the Deputy Director of the Police of Tirana to access the camera records of the monitoring system, which would have been crucial to immediately verify, without delay, the claims of the citizen D.K. for the exercise of violence against him.
The police authorities initially raised the allegation of a technical inability to apply this request and then they inexplicably requested to provide security certificates to the employees of the Ombudsman’s Institution in order for them to access the records within the Police premises.
We recall that according to Article 63, paragraph 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania "the Public bodies and officers are obliged to submit to the Ombudsman all the documents and information requested by him".
This right and obligation provided for in the Constitution is unconditional by any limitation and in any case, even if any such act would have been produced by any body, it would be clearly unconstitutional.
The Ombudsman, in other analogous cases during the previous protests, has faced some obstructive behavior by the police, and therefore raises the concern that this practice should be urgently addressed and stopped, as it is in flagrant violation of the highest law of the country, the Constitution.
The Ombudsman’s Institution is a constitutional guarantor through the active and continuous monitoring of the level of democracy and the guarantee of the civil and political rights in our country, thus it is in the interest of the whole society, especially of the official authorities in the first place, that while facing the fair rule of the law and the rights that guarantee the democratic system of a country, not to become a barrier, but to cooperate with this institution.