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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                

Republic of North Macedonia

International watchdog groups have on a number of occasions charged Macedonian police with ill-treatment and torture of prisoners. The Council of Europe has expressed deep concern about prison facilities in the country, while noting that some improvements have been made in recent years.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2009]

Description: Description: Macedonia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in North Macedonia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee announces periodic visits to eight countries in 2023

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, 27 July 2022

[accessed 28 July 2022]

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has announced today its 2023 programme of periodic visits.

The Committee intends to examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the following countries:  Albania, Armenia, Cyprus, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, North Macedonia, and the Slovak Republic.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: North Macedonia

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 28 July 2021]


The constitution and laws prohibit such practices, but there were some reports police abused detainees and prisoners and used excessive force. The government acted to investigate and prosecute legitimate claims. The Ministry of Interior Professional Standards Unit (PSU) reported, during the first seven months of the year, it acted upon 32 complaints referring to use of excessive force by police officers. The unit deemed 13 of the complaints unfounded, dismissed 17 for insufficient evidence, and upheld two. In the latter two cases, the PSU filed criminal reports against the police officers for “harassment while performing duty.”


The ombudsman opened inquiries into the death of six incarcerated persons. As of August 17, two inquiries were closed based on a Public Prosecutor’s Office’s (PPO) report ruling out violence as a contributing factor in the deaths, two inquiries were pending reports from the PPO, and the remaining two were awaiting overdue autopsy reports.


Authorities generally informed detainees promptly of the charges against them. Detention prior to indictment may last a maximum of 180 days. Following indictment, pretrial detention may last a maximum of two years.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/MKD/CO/2 (2008)

[accessed 3 March 2013]

16. The Committee is concerned about allegations of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment committed by law enforcement personnel and notes with concern a lack of prompt and effective investigations and prosecutions in this respect (see also paragraph 5 above).  In particular, the Committee is concerned at allegations reporting that the most serious abuses would be committed by a special unit of the police named “Alfi”, mandated to counter urban crimes and work in plain clothes.  In this respect, the Committee takes note of the information received by the delegation that the “Alfi” unit is going to terminate its activities soon.

MACEDONIA: "Disappearance" of Hajredin Halimi (m), born 1954, ethnic Albanian

Amnesty International AI, 1 October 2006 -- AI Index: EUR 65/003/2006

[accessed 7 January 2019]

Amnesty International is concerned about the “disappearance” of Hajredin Halimi on 7 August 2001, and is seeking information from the Macedonian authorities about a “special committee” investigating the case and urging the Macedonian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In the early hours of 7 August 2001, members of the “Tigers” commando military unit, the Security and Counter-espionage Service(DBK), and other police officers carried out a raid in Skopje, Macedonia at the home of Musafer Halimi. Musafer Halimi, Hajredin Halimi, his brother Fikri Halimi and his nephew Elam Halimi were taken to the Gazi Baba police station in Skopje, to be interrogated on suspicion of membership in the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA).

Musafer Halimi was kept in detention, tried, convicted and sentenced for association with the NLA, but was released following a presidential pardon in autumn 2001. Fikri and Elam Halimi were released on 9 August 2001. Two hours before his release from the Gazi Baba police station on 9 August 2001, Fikri Halimi alleges that he heard the voice of his brother Hajredin Halimi from another cell. However, the fate of Hajredin Halimi remains unknown.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Editiion

[accessed 5 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

According to a November 2008 EU progress report, the judiciary has made some progress in strengthening its independence and efficiency over the past year. Nevertheless, serious problems with corruption remain. Amnesty International in 2008 accused Macedonian officials of complicity in the extralegal detention, torture, and extradition to Afghanistan of a Lebanese-born German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. International watchdog groups have on a number of occasions charged Macedonian police with ill-treatment and torture of prisoners. The Council of Europe has expressed deep concern about prison facilities in the country, while noting that some improvements have been made in recent years.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by police officials continued, including of two men detained after the Smilkovci lake murder. In May, the Ombudsperson, as the National Protection Mechanism, reported that conditions in police stations in 2011 were below minimum standards – especially for juveniles – and detainees rarely had access to a lawyer or doctor. Juveniles were held in solitary confinement in inhuman and “utterly degrading” conditions. In December, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture reported that the authorities had made little progress in implementing previous recommendations, particularly in Idrizovo Prison, where ill-treatment by staff, inter-prisoner intimidation/violence and “totally unsatisfactory conditions” for prisoners persisted.


In December, the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that Macedonia was responsible for the violations suffered by Khaled el-Masri, a German resident who was apprehended in 2003 by the Macedonian authorities, held incommunicado in Macedonia for 23 days, and subsequently transferred to the custody of US authorities and flown to Afghanistan. The Court ruled that Macedonia was liable for Khaled el-Masri’s unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, for his transfer out of Macedonia to locations where he suffered other serious human rights violations, and for the failure to carry out an effective investigation. It was the first time the Court had ruled on the case of a victim of the US-led rendition programme.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 7 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 5 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, police at times used excessive force during the apprehension of criminal suspects and sometimes abused prisoners.

On June 30, according to one NGO, a Romani man was called into the Kicevo police station for questioning after persons under interrogation there accused him of participating in an altercation. The man alleged that the police then beat him, a Romani friend who came to his assistance, and a third Romani man who was also being questioned. The men filed charges on July 6, but the public prosecutor had not acted on them by year's end.

The ombudsman and public prosecutor continued to review the cases of two ethnic Albanians arrested and allegedly beaten by police near Stenkovec in October 2004. The suspects were charged with attempted murder of a taxi driver and illegal possession of firearms. The PSU investigation, conducted in cooperation with the European Union's (EU) Proxima police mission and completed in 2004, did not confirm the abuse allegations. The officers involved received additional training on the appropriate use of force.

In April Ministry of Interior officials and international observers completed an investigation of allegation that security and counterintelligence officers in Kumanovo unlawfully detained and severely mistreated Avni Ajeti, who was convicted of mining the Skopje-Belgrade railroad and placing a bomb in the Kumanovo central square. The observers noted serious irregularities in authorities' handling of the case, including officers' failure to record Ajeti's detention or to obtain legal authority for detaining him longer than twenty-four hours. The observers further noted that these administrative failures prevented them from confirming or refuting the allegations against the counterintelligence officers.

An interior ministry investigation monitored by international observers into allegations that Selam Selami was illegally detained and abused by counterintelligence officers in 2002 ended in April without determining the exact circumstances of his detention. International monitors noted that the counterintelligence agency's inability to produce records relative to the case made it impossible to establish the cause of severe medical problems experienced by Selami while being held by the officers. Selami had been detained in connection with the shooting of two ethnic Macedonian police officers; charges against him were dropped the following year.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Macedonia",, [accessed <date>]