Always disobedient, and still in the streets...

Women in black - 30 years of resistance

9th october 1991 we took to the streets of Belgrade for the first time - that is when we began non- violent resistance to the war and the policies of the Serbian regime. So far, we have organized about 2,500 street actions. We are still in the streets ...
Women in Black / WiB is an activist group and network of feminist-anti-militarist orientation, consisting of women, but also men of different generational and ethnic backgrounds, educational levels, social status, lifestyles and sexual choices.


Appeal to Drop Criminal Charges against

Ivan Novkovic

Ivan Novkovic, a video editor at TV Leskovac, served 30 days in jail for ‘organizing an unannounced meeting.’ During halftime of a Yugoslav-German basketball game on July 1, 1999, Ivan broadcast a videotape on the television station where he was employed. In this video, he accused the heads of the ruling party of taking advantage of the war and of mobilizing a large number of citizens of Leskovac - many of whom were killed in Kosovo. In his video, he appealed to the citizens of Leskovac to protest against the regime.

After serving his sentence, Novkovic was fired from his job. Criminal charges related to the ‘misuse of his official position’ were filed against him. For this offence, the Yugoslav criminal code specifies from three months to five years in prison.

Because the local Leskovac authorities are very upset, there are strong reasons to believe that Novkovic may get a lengthy prison sentence.

We urge the international community to pressure the governments of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to drop the criminal charges against Ivan Novkovic.

Appeal for the release of Bogoljub Arsenijevica-Makija

A painter from Valjevo, Serbia and an organizer of civil resistance in that town, Bogoljub Arsenijevica-Makija was brutally beaten in Belgrade on August 17, 1999, after stepping out of the office of the Movement for a Democratic Serbia. There is strong reason to suspect that he was beaten by ‘parapolice’ on the orders of the Serbian regime. In that attack, his jaw was broken and he had many other severe injuries. After being checked in to the emergency room, Bogoljub was transferred to the investigation prison. After a few days, he was finally transferred into the prison hospital. The trial of Arsenijevica-Makija is a farce. Despite the contradictory testimonies of witnesses, he is charged with attacking a policeman during the demonstrations outside the Valjevo City Parliament.

Arsenijevica-Makija has started a hunger strike. His health is in a critical condition and the authorities have not provided him with the treatment he needs. Citizens of Valjevo are collecting donations in order to pay for medical treatment, physical therapy, his transfer to a civilian hospital, and medicines.

We urge the international community to pressure the governments of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to release Bogoljub Arsenijevica-Makija.

Appeal for the Release of Flora Brovina

We ask the world to pay special attention to our fellow activist, Dr. Flora Brovina, who has been taken to the prison hospital in Pozarevac. She is in very poor health. She has been prohibited from contacting her lawyers. She was arrested on April 22, 1999. She was first imprisoned in Liljane, Kosovo and then transferred to a hospital in Pristina. No charges were ever filed against her and the reason for her imprisonment is unknown.

Dr. Brovina is one of many Albanian prisoners who were transferred from Kosovo to Serbian prisons when Serbian troops withdrew from Kosovo.

We urge you to help us prevent further senseless murders and atrocities.

We urge you to pressure the governments of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to release Flora Brovina, and all other human rights activist and political prisoners transferred from Kosovo to prison in Serbia.

Appeal for Biserka Apic

Biserka Apic, a clerk from Sremska Mitrovica, spent 17 days jailed in the police station in her town, beginning on May 9, 1999 when she was arrested without explanation. Later she was charged with insulting the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic. Her ‘crime’ was a comment that "we are led by a jackass and we are the sheep who follow him." She said this to her colleagues at the Pinki Sport Centre. The criminal charge against Biserka was based on a report that one of her colleague's made to the police. In severely judging her ‘insult,’ the state of war was considered ‘aggravating circumstances.’

Apic's defense was that she never specified whom she was talking about. The colleague who reported her to the police was the first to explicitly say that the phrase ‘led by a jackass’ referred to Milosevic.

Apic was sentenced to four months in prison. After an appeal by her lawyer, the sentence was changed to one year of parole.

Just before the second trial, State Security agents searched Apic's apartment and confiscated all her personal notes with the excuse that they were looking for evidence of criminal acts.

We urge the international community to pressure the governments of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to guarantee her personal safety.

Appeal for the Release of Igbale Jafai

For the past four months, a twenty-year-old Kosovo Albanian woman, Igbale Jafai, has been confined to the Zabela women's prison, close to Pozarevac. Her sentence is one year in prison. She has been convicted of terrorism, specifically for taking part in military operations of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

During the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia, Igbale Jafai was kidnapped by Kosova Liberation Army (KLA) members and raped by one of them. The KLA kept her in the woods for a week and then released her. After she returned to her village, Mirase, in the Urosevac district, she reported the kidnapping and the rape to the police. In the court procedure initiated by Serb authorities, the father of the KLA member that raped Jafai was a witness. He said that she joined the KLA voluntarily and that she entered into a relationship with his son without coercion. On the basis of this witness's story, Jafai was punished with one year in prison.

Igbale Jafai was pregnant when she began serving her prison time. At the beginning of September, she gave birth to a child in the civilian hospital in Belgrade.

We urge the governments of United Nations member states, international organizations, and people concerned with the protection of human rights, to pressure the governments of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to release Igbale Jafai.