Bosnians Protest Alleged Child Abuse at Special Needs Home

The protesters were incensed by images revealed at a news conference a day earlier by Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina lawmaker Sabina Cudic, which appeared to show children at a care facility in the village of Pazaric tied to beds and other furniture.

"We're here today as parents," one of the protesters told BIRN. "These children should not be treated like this. You see that children are malnourished and bound. These kids are not in jail."

Demonstrators blocked a main road and delivered a petition to the Federation's government building calling for an immediate investigation into conditions at the Institute for the Care of Mentally Disabled Children and Youth in Pazaric, 30 kilometres west of Sarajevo.

They also demanded that authorities sack the care home's management and supervisory boards and punish those responsible for the alleged abuse.

Protests were also held in the southern city of Mostar.

Lawmaker Cudic said on Wednesday she decided to make public the "evidence of the horrible treatment" after the Committee for Labour and Social Protection in the Federal House of Representatives "failed to discuss the delivered material due to the lack of a quorum" after she urged the Federation government to act.

After her press conference, both the government of Sarajevo Canton and Federation Prime Minister Fadil Novalic asked the Cantonal Prosecution Office to take urgent action.

Redzep Salic, director of the care home in Pazaric, also held a news conference on Wednesday, saying the pictures were an attack on staff caring for the children and that he would not allow the children to be used for "political purposes".

"Sabina Cudic was here with the commission a few days ago and she didn't tell us anything," he said. ...

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