MP who uncovered abuse of mental patients: FBiH govt. committed criminal offence

NEWS 27.11.2019 21:29
Source: N1

The government in Bosnia's Federation entity (FBiH) knew about the abuse of children and youths in Sarajevo's Pazaric home for people with mental disabilities and did nothing about it, thus committing a criminal offence, FBiH opposition MP Sabina Cudic said in an interview with N1's Amir Zukic.

Sabina Cudic held a press conference last week where she presented photos and videos of children with their hands tied behind their backs who were further tied to radiators and furniture. The reason she decided to show the photos there, she said then, was because the FBiH Parliament refused to discuss the Pazaric home at their regular session.

She stated that she was a member of the FBiH Labor and Welfare Committee and that this was not the first time this issue was raised.
“On two occasions, in September and October, the Committee sent urgent requests to the FBiH government to urgently respond to allegations about the situation in the Pazaric Institute,” Cudic said.

When Zukic asked her if the FBiH government and the Prime Minister thus committed a criminal offence by not doing anything about it, she said: “absolutely yes.”

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 Immediately after her press conference at which she, she was summoned by the Prosecution to speak of what she knew about the Pazaric Institute.

“At the beginning of my testimony, I said I was afraid of any kind of retaliation, political or any other kind, against the people I met and who provided me with these materials. We live in a legal paradox, we have a criminal law that ensures penalties for those who do not report criminal offences, but at the same time, we don't have legal solutions for the people reporting criminal offences. I informed the Prosecution about the fact that I am working on putting forward such a law that would protect whistle-blowers of such offences,” she said.

After her press conference, she said some of her colleagues up to her saying “Now we9ll go to Pazaric and find those who shot the photos and punish them.”

According to her, the number of abuse witnesses is growing and after speaking to parents of children situated there, they told her they saw the bruises and that they will cooperate with the Prosecution.

When asked when she received the shocking photos and videos, Cudic responded: “24 hours before the press conference.”

“The biggest problem is that the FBiH government has distanced itself from the responsibility and that they resolved their part of the problem by dismissing the Institute's management and supervisory boards as well as the general manager. My request was to protect the patients as soon as possible, and then I asked for the dismissals,” Cudic noted, adding that the government only dealt with the management matters.

Right after Cudic presented the photos and videos she had, Sarajevo citizens began flocking in front of the FBiH Parliament building in protest of the conditions in that institution. Protests lasted for the next two days with people from Sarajevo, Zenica Mostar and other cities taking to the streets and pressuring the FBiH government to dismiss the Pazaric management.