Montenegro - Part 2

posted by usha on 2005/09/08 10:51

[ Montenegro ]

Executive violence seems to be a regular means of Montenegrin police. News about police troops beating up suspects or even inmates are accumulating.

This special troop burst even into Spuž prison to do their violent "work" and attacked 8 people. Another tim police troops beat up even 40 prisoners. It seems as if their interpretation of a search warrant came out to be a translation into a warrant of violence.

Thus, the meaning of being in prison obviously has deeply changed since the beginning of the 20th century when Joseph Bubeniček described his experience of the sole Montenegrin prison in Cetijne as follows:

We approach [...] the remand prison, a ground-levelled building encirceled by a huge free place surrounded by walls. The inmates are free to walk there, they have coffee, smoke, play games, have conversation with passer-bys and welcome visitors by day. Prisoners accused of murder are enchained. This is not because of a possible escape but it is rather meant to stigmatize them for their capital crime. Even the jailors are only pro forma armed.1
As the Czech traveller is referring to the Montenegrin prison, executive and justice, being in prison becomes some sort of pleasant holidays from everyday life, a time free of the heavy physical work and burdens of the normal life. The inmates are treated with respect, and according to the archetype of a culture of shame being stigmatized by chains is sufficient to prevent any further crime.

I don't have the means to look behind the "facts" and to decide which description is closer to the "truth", although the second one obviously is meant as propaganda for a neglected people the author wishes to bring to western (positive) consciousness. However, it is to suspect that the first report on arbitrary police violence is not mere fiction. Judge Mandić compares the event with a military junta. Indeed, there seem to be similarities. Nevertheless, one has always to ask for the mechanisms of selecting and contextualizing/interpreting events within the discourse of Balkanization and De-balkanization, of inclusion in and exclusion from "our civilized Europe".

1 Bubeniček, Joseph: Nach Montenegro. Eine Reiseskizze. Mit 6 Abb. im Texte und einer Ansicht von Cetinje als Beilage. In: Jahres-Bericht über das K.K. Staats-Gymnasium mit deutscher Unterrichtssprache in Prag, Neustadt, Stephansgasse für das Schuljahr 1902-1903, p. 13.



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