For the first time in its history, Serbian authorities will give reparations to 15 survivors of the Goli Otok, a political prison from the communist era.
|Prison on Goli Otok island in Croatia I Photo by Wikicommons|
The commission for reparations within the Serbian Ministry of Justice decided to grant money reparation to 15 survivors who had been already rehabilitated from the political processes conducted by the former communist regime, says Slobodan Homen, Serbian State Secretary for Justice.
The Ministry states that the reparations are given because the civil rights of these people were harmed, the amount of money they will receive being determined by the number of days spent in the Goli Otok prison.
Serbia will award 7 Euros for each day spent in the prison, which is the same as in Croatia, but lower than in Slovenia where the Goli Otok survivors get around 10 Euros.
Fifteen people in Serbia, whose names are not public, will receive around 13,7 million dinars [approximately 1.3 million Euros]. The cases of 155 people rehabilitated by the state are still pending.
Starting from the late 1940s, and in the following decades, many people were sent to prison or tortured due to their political and ideological beliefs, which were at the time considered against the doctrine of the communist party and thus harmful to the state.
In 1949, Goli Otok, an abandoned island in Croatia, was transformed into a high security clandestine prison and labour camp, where mainly political prisoners were forced to work and were regularly tortured by the guards.
In the beginning of the 1960s the authorities started to use Goli Otok not just for the imprisonment of the political opponents, but also as a regular prison for criminals and serious young offenders.
The prison was run by the authorities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until 1988 when it was shut down.
|Dragoslav Mihailovic, Serbian writer who survived Goli Otok imprisonment I Photo by Beta|
Dragoslav Mihailovic, Serbian academic and writer, who has survived the Goli Otok says he is still considering whether to request reparation from the state.
“Seven hundred dinars is not an adequate reparation for all we had to endure there,” said Mihailovic.
He also added that Serbia has lagged behind in the region when it comes to the Goli Otok reparations since both Slovenia and Croatia dealt with this issue in the beginning of the1990s.
Mihailovic was arrested in 1950 under the suspicion of being a political traitor and transferred to Goli Otok without a trial. The Serbian state rehabilitated Mihailovic in 2006.
He wrote a five-volumes book named Goli Otok, where he described in details what kind of state terror he and his fellow prisoners endured.
The exact number of people from Serbia that survived Goli Otok is unknown, but it is estimated that around 200 former prisoners are currently living in the country.
From 2006, when the Law on Rehabilitation was adopted, the courts in Serbia rehabilitated 1,870 people considered victims of the communist regime. Last year the court decided on 307 cases, while until June, the Serbian authorities got requests for rehabilitation from 92 people.
Previously, Higher Court had rehabilitated Prince Paul, the former Yugoslav regent deposed in 1941 by a coup, and Slobodan Jovanovic, President of the King’s government in exile, while the process of rehabilitation of WW2 Chetnik leader Dragoslav Draza Mihailovic is still ongoing.