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British Find Kosovo Torture Tools

June 17, 1999

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ British paratroopers searching a Serb police station have found brass knuckles, baseball bats and knives from what appeared to be a torture chamber for ethnic Albanian victims, British authorities said Thursday.

Soldiers also found dozens of condoms in the Serbian provincial police station in northeastern Pristina and, according to British Foreign Office Minister Geoff Hoon in London, ``savage pornography.″

A black bra and a child-sized red shoe were among the clothes piled in a small cell in the basement. Paratroopers searching the cell also found an array of knives and clubs, including a baseball bat labeled ``mouth-shutter″ in Serbian.

A resident of the predominantly Albanian neighborhood surrounding the station said he was beaten and questioned in the concrete-block building, and had seen men and women beaten unconscious in its cells.

Riza Krasniqi said police beat him with bed posts after seizing him at his home May 25. During the six hours he was held, Krasniqi said he saw Albanian men and women between the ages of 15 and 70 being beaten, some into unconsciousness.

The police tested detainees to see who had fired a weapon recently, he said. Those who had were taken elsewhere, while the others were beaten and asked a few questions _ their names, addresses and whether they were loyal to Serbia.

Though the building had been occupied until a few days ago, when Serb police pulled out ahead of a peace-plan deadline, it looked as if it had been abandoned for some time. Water from a recent rain pooled on the concrete floors. Piles of police and army uniforms smelled dank.

Boxes were stuffed with brass knuckles, some fashioned from door hinges, vials of an anti-nerve gas agent commonly issued to soldiers and a mattress sliced up with what appeared to be knife marks.

Hoon said that outside the building, ``there is a trail of charred paper leading to an incinerator,″ apparently indicating that the Serbs tried to burn evidence of their alleged crimes.

A team of war crimes investigators toured the station Wednesday but did not immediately draw conclusions from what was found, British soldiers said. But British officials in London quickly condemned what appeared to have gone on in the building.

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