PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania, an organisation that works for the protection of LGBT community in Albania, wishes to express its deep concerns for the latest case of extreme violence used against a member of the transgender community in Tirana, Albania.
On August 14, 2011 around 16:00 members of the State Police, accompanied by a private citizen, where investigating the theft of a necklace at the park near the Albanian Parliament. Amongst the people they were interviewing for the case was also a young man, who is friends with the transgender group, which lives by this park. When the police tried to detain the young man, they faced resistance by one of the transgender people called Paloma.
The reaction of the Police towards Paloma was extremely violent, crossing all boundaries of its lawful use. A group of six police officers, one of them a woman, used totally unjustified violence which based on international acts ratified by Albania, could be classified as degrading punishment and torture.
Afterwards, Paloma was taken in custody at the Tirana Police Authority, where violence against her continued until she was totally covered in blood and had fainted. To avoid any bruises on the head and face, she was forced to wear a helmet, while kicking and punching continued all over her body. PINK Embassy / LGBT PRO Albania are in possession of pictures that show scars and bruises on her body. The Police took Paloma at Mother Teresa National Hospital (QSUT), where she received immediate aid and was then taken back to the police headquarters of Tirana.
Throughout the entire detention, Paloma was not offered any legal assistance and was asked to sign documents without her consent. Paloma cannot read or write.
PINK Embassy calls on the Ministry of Interior and Albanian People’s Advocate to start an immediate investigation on the case and to bring to justice all the people in uniform who were involved in the torturing for endless hours a transgender person, putting her life in absolute danger.
For years, the transgender community in Albania has suffered from marginalization and social exclusion. The community lacks support from Tirana Municipality and central government institutions. It is not the first time that PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania publicly denounces the violence and maltreatment of transgender people in Tirana by the Police. Even though during the last months there has been an improvement in the way transgender people were being treated by the Police, the latest case shows that they further need to improve their professionalism and work behavior.