Rector gaoled for ethnic resistance

May 12, 1995

The rector of the "illegal" Albanian-language University of Tetovo in Macedonia has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for "inciting the people to resistance".

Fadil Sulejman was charged with calling on the people of Tetovo to "defend the university" when the Macedonian authorities tried to prevent the formal start of lectures in February, by forming a human barricade so that the police could not enter the improvised classrooms.

His real offence, in Macedonian eyes, is that he headed the university's founding committee. Another member of the committee, an Albanian community leader from Tetovo, was given six months for "mass participation in preventing the authorities from carrying out their official duties".

The university was established to provide Albanian-taught higher education for Macedonia's ethnic minority but has been the subject of official suppression since its formal inauguration last December. Buildings were seized by police and people connected with its foundation held for "informal talks".

Two days later the beginning of lectures was marred by clashes between police and students, faculty and ethnic Albanians who sought to protect the university's makeshift premises.

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