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Kosovar Pediatrician Flora Brovina Released from Prison
November 1, 2000
Flora Brovina, a Kosovar pediatrician and one of the most well known ethnic Albanian political prisoners held in Serbia, was, according to press reports, released from prison yesterday afternoon, October 31, 2000, by presidential order. The press accounts said she was escorted out of the prison by officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.N. human rights representative in Belgrade, her lawyers, and representatives from nongovernmental human rights groups. Dr. Brovina was expected to arrive in Pristina, Kosovo late yesterday evening.
Dr. Brovina practiced medicine in a rehabilitation center for displaced women and children that she had set up a number of years ago in Pristina. The center was also home to some 25 children whose parents had been killed in the conflict. Dr. Brovina, who remained in Pristina after the NATO air campaign began so that she could continue to help those in need, was abducted by Serb forces on April 20, 1999. She was transferred to a prison in Serbia in early June 1999, just a few days before NATO troops entered Kosovo. She was brought to trial in Serbia in November 1999 and sentenced on December 9, 1999, to 12 years' imprisonment for allegedly conspiring against the government to commit terrorism during the NATO air campaign. Her conviction was annulled by the Serbian Supreme Court in June 2000 and sent back to a lower court for review. The court subsequently decided to proceed with a new trial, which was scheduled for mid November 2000.
Dr. Brovina's youngest brother, Ilir Brovina, who was a speaker at the October 16 CHR briefing at the Institute of Medicine's 2000 Annual Meeting, thanked the CHR and its correspondents for the many appeals sent to the Yugoslav authorities in his sister’s behalf. He gave a moving talk about his sister’s many admirable accomplishments, as a humanitarian and a pediatrician devoted to helping children, as well as the injustices she has endured.
Some 150 appeals have been written in Dr. Brovina’s behalf by correspondents of the CHR and participants in the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies during the last 14 months.
For more detailed information on Dr. Brovina's case, please see her case summary.