GAY COUPLE ATTACKED IN PRISTINA

A gay couple was attacked Saturday, July 2nd in Prishtina, Kosovo. The perpetrator was the owner of the house they were renting as their sexual orientation and relationship was discovered by him. 
 
The victims were physically and verbally attacked with a knife and a shovel, locked from the inside of the house and their personal belongings were kept closed. In order to escape from the attack the couple was forced to jump from the second floor balcony. Eventually they ended up homeless with injuries in the face and body. The case was reported to the police (police station Center (Qendra)) and officers helped the victims to get their personal belongings.
 
In their public statement Pristina based organization Center for Social Group Development stated that "it is in our opinion very concerning the fact that the perpetrator was not arrested, even though he threatened the victims in the presence of the police and eye witnesses. We have asked the investigator of the case for explanations, but he was not able to give further information at this point."
 
Further they added that "the case has been reported to Ombudsperson's office on Monday, July 4th and we will be in close cooperation with them in order to receive more information from the police. We hope the institutions will undertake all the necessary measures for a proper investigation and the victims will receive justice."
 
Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity remain a big issue for countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey region. While many cases are not reported due to victims' fear of exposure or lack of trust in law enforcement, in cases when they do further discrimination, ridicule and lack of adequate investigation by law enforcement authorities is reported. 
 
In the case of Kosovo, while legislation remains very advanced and country leaders speak in favor of LGBTI rights, social attitudes towards LGBTI people remain hostile. 
 
ERA joins the message of its member organizations in Kosovo and calls on the authorities to properly investigate this case, as well as other cases reported previously and gurantee safety and protection of LGBTI people as required by the law. Additionally trainings and capacity building programs for state police and other law enforcement agencies is very crucial and urgent