SERBIAN TORTURE UNIT FOR ADDICTS CLOSES
A happy ending to our story on brutality meted to addicts trying to recover at Crna Reka "treatment" centre for drug abusers: Reuters reports that the Serbian Orthodox Church ordered its closure after a video showed a patient being beaten with a shovel, punched and kicked as part of supposed treatment.
The Holy Synod, the church's top body, asked Bishop Artemije, the head of the local diocese, to order an immediate shutdown of the facility and "launch proceedings against those responsible in line with church's laws and regulations".
A video posted on the website of Belgrade's Vreme weekly showed one of the centre's employees repeatedly beating a man with a shovel, kicking him and hitting him with a knuckleduster – brass knuckles – in the face inside a room decorated with icons. The victim, whose head hits religious icons on the wall during the beating, eventually falls unconscious
The statement came a day after the Serbian Health Ministry said it would investigate methods used at the rehabilitation centre near the southwestern city of Novi Pazar, and after government human rights watchdog Sasa Jankovic announced he had filed criminal charges against the centre and its lead priest Dejan Peranovic.
It is unclear whether the church acted in response to learning about the abuse, or to publicity.