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.
VIEW PICTURES at: http://www.malesiaemadhe.org/documents/washington%20pics.htm
Some excerpts from Eliot Engel at the demonstration:
"I deplore the treatment of the Albanian Americans and other ethnic Albanian citizens of Montenegro in the days after their arrest. As Amnesty International has confirmed, these people were indeed roughed up by the Montenegrin Authorities. We deserve a real explanation as to what happened, and I do not believe the Montenegrin investigation into this action has been adequate at this point."
"During my trip to Montenegro, I visited Tuz and Ulcin. Ever since this trip, I have been closely monitoring the situation there and am committed to ensuring that Albanians in Montenegro receive all of the rights that any national minority is guaranteed in Europe. I am concerned that the people of the region have not yet been granted what the basic European standards require and will continue my dialogue with the State Department and the Montenegrin officials on this subject."
I believe there is an annual Breakfast-Prayer session in Washington next February like the one Albanians demonstrated at last year.
Does anyone have any information on this? Or, more important, would it be a good idea to hold another demonstration? I believe there will be Montenegrin officials there.
What's the next step now, another demonstration? How about a demonstration in Podgorica, in front of the jail where Albanians are being held and beaten every day, or in front of the U.S. embassy? How about a march from Tuz to Podgorica? This would make more headlines and wake Montenegro up.
The Diaspora should check into airline tix and give discounts to those wishing to fly to Podgorica to stage a demonstration.
This isn't such a far-fetched idea since the Albanian Diaspora went by the thousands to Montenegro to vote for its independence. Today I believe the cause is greater -- saving Albanians from extinction!
This excerpt deserves greater attention...
"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."
...it is an objective of the state to make a case that Albanians fall under the definition of "terrorists". Their activities in Malesia are forever linked with suspicion in the eyes of Slavs.
How can people from different ethnic, religious and linguistic origins coexist when the very state that was created to EQUALLY protect them now instills divisions and fear in a region that has been scarred with ethnic wars and hatred?
You would think Montenegro would have learned something from its previous divorces.
Didn't we see this coming when just before the May elections the Court in Montenegro ruled that the new minority law was unconstitutional and was set up just to temporarily please/hush Albanians before the referendum?
How blind are we?
there are additional pictures from the demonstration at this link:
We should use all peaceful means in trying to work things out with Montenegro, but if they do not work out,(I seriously doubt tehy will)!. Montenegro has this "chip on the shoulder" thinking that they are superior to the Albanians. They forget that now they are alone no more Serbia. I do not think that they are following a good neighborly policy in arresting and torturing Albanians. Little they know that a nation of half a million is messing aroud with a nation of 6 million people. Sali Berisha will not last forever, their good friend. Montenegro will regret this behavior soon enough!
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