Three inmates of N. Mitrovica detention centre test positive for corona, conflicting testimonies of their medical treatment

Pritvorski centar Mitrovica Sever

Three inmates in the North Mitrovica detention center have tested positive for coronavirus. They are in isolation, the situation is under control, and they are being monitored by a medical team, the deputy director general of the Kosovo Correctional Service, Rasim Selmani told KoSSev. On the other hand, the wife of one of the inmates claims that coronavirus-positive inmates have not been given medication and that they were prohibited from calling their families, resulting in her husband going on a seven-day long hunger strike.

Jasmina Stojkov from Zrenjanin told the KoSSev portal that her coronavirus-positive husband, Branislav Gajin, who is currently in the detention center in North Mitrovica, as well as other infected inmates housed in this center, were reportedly prohibited from calling their families.

According to Stojkov, Gajin was prohibited from calling her for almost two weeks, as a result of which he went on a seven-day hunger strike. Following the hunger strike, she added, Gajin was briefly allowed the use of call services yesterday – when he informed her of the treatment he received at the detention center.

She further claimed that Gajin did not receive any medicine and that he was reportedly not allowed to take a shower for several days.

Stojkov underlined that, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, prisoners were allowed a minimum of two calls a week – one call via Skype on Wednesday and another by phone on Sunday.

On the other hand, in a statement for KoSSev, the Deputy Director General of the Kosovo Correctional Service, Rasim Selmani denied these allegations, underlining that the inmate in question was not prohibited from calling his family and that the detention center must provide call service to the inmates housed there.

Selmani stressed that the situation was resolved following yesterday’s conversation with the director of the Detention Center in North Mitrovica, Benasim Medic.

He also denied allegations that Gajin went on a seven-day hunger strike.

„For someone to go on a hunger strike, they need to refuse food for more than 24 hours. We have no information that he went on a seven-day hunger strike,“ Selmani said. He also confirmed that three inmates of this detention center have tested positive for coronavirus and that they are in isolation.

Commenting on the allegations presented by Stojkov, Selmani noted that the situation in this detention center is under control and that the center has a medical staff that provides treatment to infected inmates.

If the medical staff assesses that the infected inmates cannot be treated at the center, they are sent to other health institutions throughout Kosovo, he added.

There are currently 1,033 inmates and 409 detainees in Kosovo Correctional Service detention centers and prisons.

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