by Vladimir MATIJANIC
M.K. starts his statement by saying that on August 19, 1992, at about 11am, two military policemen came to his apartment and told him that he had to come with them to Lora to an "informative talk" [i.e. questioning].
"After about 10-15 minutes the policeman called me inside and ordered me to sit down. Another two policemen entered the room. The plump civilian and the woman were at that point behind my back... When I sat down at the table, in front of the civilian who was going to question me, three policemen arranged themselves around me, one on the left side, one on the right, and one behind my back. They started the questioning - where did you work, who's in your family, who do you live with, do you maintain any contacts and with whom, where were you born, what's your military rank, who did you vote for, where did you serve, where have you been recently, which Serbs do you know, etc. After my every reply, the three policemen hit me with hands on the head, pulled at my earlobes, twisted them, twisted my head, strangled me by holding my neck, hit with hands on my sides, kicked with their feet, raised from the seat by pulling me up by my earlobes and neck muscles, all followed by screams and curses. They screamed 'you're lying, you Serb, Chetnik motherfucker; we'll destroy you, nothing will be left of you, only the earlobes that we're going to cut off any minute now'. The questioner was supposedly trying to calm them down, and then would turn to me and tell me that he could not do anything because these policemen were mad. The torture continued. They kept finding new points on me to torture me as much as possible. After about two to two hours and a half, they stopped. The interrogator told me that he was young and already a colonel and I, although aged 60, was still a petty officer. In this whole torture and interrogation he offered me a piece of paper for my signature. I responded that I could not sign it and I could not read it as they had broken my glasses and my head was hurting terribly. He ordered me to sign it, and I did so..."
"Torture with a gun followed. A policeman sitting in the armchair pulled out a gun from a cupboard drawer and pointed it at me. He threatened, cursed. Some policemen shouted at him not to kill me there, because I would pollute the room with blood and they would have to clean. Therefore, they took me out to a concrete covered yard, surrounded by tall walls with barbed wire on top. The yard is within the building complex, about 30-40 meters long and 10-12 meters wide. The policeman ordered them to strip me naked. I crawled into the yard on all four because I could not walk anymore. They kicked me and then pushed me against a wall and placed the barrel of a gun on my forehead. They were screaming and cursing all the time... I was only waiting for death and the end of my suffering. However, I felt a strong spray of ice-cold water from a hose. The spray pinned me against the wall. After about ten minutes of such a bath I came back..."
After that M.K. was taken to a hospital where in presence of policemen he was checked up by a female physician who prescribed "some pills" for him and gave him a referral for a specialist check up. The policemen brought him back to Lora and continued to beat him. "They formed a circle and pushed me from one to another by blows and kicks..."
The next day, August 20, 1992, at about 9am, M.K. was taken to be seen by an internal medicine specialist. After the return to Lora, he was given food for the first time and permitted to drink water. One of the following days, when he requested water, a guard, of fair complexion, about 6 feet tall, with pockmarked face, ordered the prisoners who were scrubbing the toilet and corridors to "freshen" him up with dirty rags and to spread dirt over his head, ears, nose, eyes, teeth, tongue. M.K. recalls how that guard ordered prisoners to hit each other, and some policemen demanded that the prisoners salute them with a raised right arm and the Ustashe [Croat pro-Nazi WWII movement] salute "Za dom spremni" [for homeland ready].
After he spoke to "some commission" that once visited Lora about the events in the prison, M.K. was again beaten up. The policeman who had tortured him with electrical shocks ordered him to turn towards a wall and put hands behind his back. He stood about 60-70cm [2 feet] from the wall, and the policemen hit him with both feet, holding a bed, and cursed his Chetnik mother... After about ten days M.K. was released, and the policemen who drove him home, because he was not able to walk, threatened him to keep quiet about everything so that "his posterity would not suffer". M.K. never received an official explanation regarding why he had been imprisoned.
Damjan Trpkovic claims that during one walk in the yard he noticed three Montenegrins. One of them was forced to cut another one's ear off and pull the third one's eye out with a knife. He also recalls an iron chair without a back, "so that the chair only had iron sticks sticking out of the seat. They would force me to lean above the chair and grab the sticks and pretend to drive a car, and they would push me from behind so that the sticks would hit me in the chest and cut my skin". One evening the guards took him out of the cell and shot at the muscle on his left arm from a hunting rifle, immediately under the shoulder, then at his left thigh, and from a gun at his right arm above the shoulder. After all that, he was taken to a hospital. A doctor examined him and said that he had to be held and treated, but the guards refused.
"Father Perkovic and I were forced to give each other blow jobs. We had to do that while attached to the phone inductor, so that they delivered electric shocks and beat us at the same time. During all of these beatings, I had nine ribs broken on both sides, and I do not know when that actually happened. I was beaten so many times that I cannot possibly recall every incident... I fainted several times, so that they would pour water over me to bring me back and continue with beatings. We had to greet them with the Ustashe salute 'Za dom spremni'". One day, probably on May 26, 1992, some prisoners, among them Damjan were tied together with wire by the guards. The guards blindfolded them and took them to a cellar of a house in a village near Duvno. Damjan was exchanged on August 18, 1992 near Stolac and after that joined the units of the so-called Yugoslav People's Army.
In his statement Gavrilo first gives a detailed description of the maltreatment in Capljina and Metkovic, where prisoners took turns being questioned and then beaten. After that they were blindfolded and moved to Lora.
"On the arrival, immediately on exit from the vehicles, we encountered a few of them who immediately started to beat us. These men must have been trained in martial arts, and I noticed, as my blindfold slid a bit, that they were members of the military police, since they wore white belts and white gun holsters. They hit us with fists, fingertips, delivered Karate chops in the neck... Among the ones who beat us I managed to notice one whom others called Musa. Later I found out that he was from Siroki Brijeg and had been a YPA military policeman in Sarajevo. After this beating they took us inside a room where they took off our blindfolds and stripped us naked, and then took away all the valuables we had, as well as our identification documents. After this we were thrown naked into a rook where we were doused with cold water while they shouted at us that we were 'lousy Chetniks'. After the dousing, they forced us to stand in front of a wall, and then they beat us with baseball bats, and later dragged us to the cells. I was dragged to a cell of the so-called block C... I spent 20 days in this cell..."
"They scarcely fed us while I was in Lora, and we did not even get food every day... I got water rarely, as well as food. Every five or seven days they gave us a plastic 1.5 liter bottle to share among five of us. We urinated by requesting to be taken to a toilet from the cells, and this request was sometimes granted and sometimes not, so that we had to urinate inside the cells. Sometimes we were so thirsty that we had to drink our own urine... They beat us incessantly in Lora... When they got tired hitting us, they would force us to hit each other... If one of us would not hit as hard as possible then they forced other prisoners to hit him as hard as possible. They forced us to perform unnatural sexual acts, and perform fellatio on each other... One day they brought Father Zoran Perkovic into the cell and stripped him naked. Then they ordered us to strip naked. Then he had to lie on the floor and we had to lie on top of him... On several occasions they connected Perkovic to the phone inductor, then forced him to get on all four and brought him to me and forced him to bite my penis. This was done several times with me and Zoran, as well as other prisoners in the so-called block C..."
Trpkovic claims that the prison guards one evening killed in front of him five persons dressed in the uniforms of the so-called YPA by cutting their throats. He assumes that they were Montenegrins. Gavrilo Trpkovic claims that with other prisoners he frequently had to wipe and wash blood in the corridors... "In the warden's office they had set up the so-called electric chair. They would force us to sit in it and then would tie us up with wires by attaching one wire to an earlobe with a metal clip, as they did to me, or by piercing ears and pushing the live wire through the hole. They would tie the other wire to the penis, and then deliver electric shocks..."
A file with these statements is currently held by the County State Prosecutor and is supposed to be used for the final establishment of the full truth regarding the events in the Split war port Lora. So far best known crimes committed in Lora were murders of Gojko Bulovic, Nenad Knezevic and Dalibor Sardelic. Naturally, no one has been punished for these crimes.