WASHINGTON DC, December 8, 2006 – Approximate 1,000 Albanian-Americans, including Members of the United States Congress, joined together in Washington, DC to protest the abuse, torture and illegal detainment of Albanians in Montenegro’s prison system. The demonstration also brought into the open Montenegro’s campaign of conspiracy of silence and brutality in an all-out effort to instill panic and fear among the Albanian population. The demonstration took place just outside the White House while Montenegro’s new ambassador to the U.S. Miograd Vlahoviq met with President George Bush during a diplomatic credential breakfast meeting.
Congressman Sander Levin of Michigan and the staff of Eliot Engel of New York joined the protesters, which included family members of those being held in prison. Congressman Levin assured the families that his office, along with the office of Senator Carl Levin, will continue its efforts to ensure that Montenegro follows all domestic and international laws with those under arrest, and that the U.S. Congress will not tolerate any abuse or unlawful conduct upon the prisoners, while encouraging the U.S. Embassy to look into any violations of human rights abuses. Eliot Engel’s office demanded that Montenegro grant Albanians their inherited rights as human beings and stop the abusive tactics that are only adding to the growing frustration that could possibly lead to destabilization in the region. Engel’s office supports the concept of granting Malësia a full and distinct municipality in accordance to domestic laws and statutes, which would go a long way in alleviating most of the problems facing Albanians in Montenegro today. Engel promised to continue his endeavors in working along side the Albanian Diaspora in an effort to pacify the situation that has flared and threatens to spin out of control.
This demonstration marked the three-month anniversary since Albanian and American citizens were taken into custody on bogus and illicit charges of “terrorism,” where they continue to be beaten, tortured and psychologically battered in an authoritarian system that shows no mercy for its own citizenry, where just four months prior helped usher in its independence. Instead, Montenegro has pushed forward the perception that Albanians are “terrorists” and along with it has infected the majority non-Albanian populace in believing that Albanians are destabilizing the country, a mindset that will cause divisions and strife between ethnic groups throughout the country.
The American Diaspora will not tolerate this behavior and vows to aggressively exploit Montenegro’s oppression and abusive tactics to all international institutions and policy makers in an effort to prove that Montenegro has no place in a democratic Europe until it affords its Albanian citizens basic human rights and stops its campaign of abuse, discrimination, intimidation and expulsion.
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