Among the questions covered in the debate were:
How did the Kosovo Police react when a victim complained that a gynaecologist performed an abortion at the request of her mother-in-law? How did the gynaecologist, Ramadan Maliqi, respond to the victim’s allegations? Why does the victim complain that police officers have advised her to endure violence?
Why does Ismet Hashani, the Kosovo Police spokesman for the region of Gjilan, hesitate to mention the names of Arbnora Leka and Shaban Hajdari, the police officers who dealt with the victim’s case?
Why did the judge, Emine Salihu, deal with a large number of court cases, including some received later, but kept this case pending? Why has the Centre for Social Work hidden the court case from the victim?
Is it true that Reshat Zeqiri, a social worker, supported the father-in-law and mother-in-law of the victim by allowing them to get custody of a child without the consent of mother?
In order to discuss these issues, journalist Leonora Aliu interviewed the victim of domestic violence, a number of witnesses and the following officials:
- Ismet Hashani, Kosovo Police spokesman for the region of Gjilan;
- Fahri Nuhiu, prosecutor in the District Prosecution in Gjilan;
- Kolë Ramaj, a lawyer; and
- Mehat Berisha, head of social services at the Centre for Social Work in Gjilan.
M. B. was in the third month of pregnancy, but was also very young when her mother-in-law ordered her to abort the pregnancy, allegedly because M. B. was taking medical drugs, and the child was not expected to be born ‘normal’.
“My mother-in-law and father-in-law did not love me, they would have preferred a bride with Swiss documents, who works there and sends them money. I didn’t even have money for myself,” M. B. told Justice in Kosovo. “I have often asked them why they behaved that way and why they beat me constantly. Their answer was that ‘we don’t want you, and that’s all!’”
One day, the victim’s mother-in-law took her to a gynaecology clinic.
“When we went inside the clinic, the nurse said that she would just examine me, but then she began to kill my baby with her tools,” she explained.
She said that she had started to cry; she didn’t trust the doctor, who was telling her that the child was already dead and must be removed from her womb.
Regardless, she returned to her husband because, as she said, “I was young and I was afraid to tell the truth. Therefore, I returned with the hope that everything was going to be alright.”
The beatings continued even after the victim became pregnant for a second time. “Even after my daughter was born, their violence did not stop,” said M.B.
Due to the continued violence, the victim was forced to go out into the street. “One day, they beat me too much, so I decided to escape from the house. I ran as much as I could, until I met a police patrol in the street. They brought me to the nearest police station and took my statement,” she said.
Arbnora Leka and Shaban Hajdari were the two officers from the police department for domestic violence, who received the victim’s statement on the day her father-in-law had pulled her hair out by the roots. However, the victim’s statement was not enough for them, because, according to her, “they said that I must accept my mother-in-law’s behaviour, because she is older.”
Related to this case, Mr. Hashani denied the accusations against the two police officers: “I cannot believe that this is true. I am very sure that the police did their job properly.”
Meanwhile, when asked about the investigation into the violent abortion carried out by Dr Ramadan Maliqi, Mr. Hashani said that “the doctor told us that he does not register his patients and their cases”.
Mr. Nuhiu said that “on May 24, 2005, a criminal case against Metush Hajdari, the father-in-law of M.B., was raised on charges of causing bodily injury to her. Today, I understood that this case remained unresolved and pending, and that the competent judge has taken a decision to refuse the charges.”
Mr. Ramaj said that “this is a drastic violation of human rights and an abuse of official position by the judge. If the competent judge has resolved new cases and left this one pending, then there is room for doubt that she intentionally didn’t resolve it.”
Moreover, Mr. Berisha admitted that the Centre for Social Work in Gjilan received a request from M.B. to take custody of her child.