New York, 4 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Amnesty International is demanding an investigation into allegations that prison authorities tortured suspects arrested in connection with the assassination of Serbia's prime minister (pictured) earlier this year. The human rights watchdog made the demand in a report released early today. It said accounts by victims and their lawyers reveal a pattern of widespread torture of detainees rounded up after Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was shot dead in Belgrade on 12 March.
Nearly 2,000 suspects were detained during a large-scale crackdown after the assassination. Charges have been filed against 44 suspects. Trials are expected to start in October.
Amnesty International said it and other human rights groups should receive unfettered access to interview detainees privately about allegations of torture -- which include asphyxiation, beatings, electric shocks to the head and body, and mock executions.