Serbs Reject Charges of Patient Abuse

Government disputes group's claim that disabled are neglected, tortured
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 2:45 PM CST
Laurie Ahern, of MDRI-Mental Disability Rights International, a U.S.-based human rights group speaks at a press conference, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007, in Belgrade, Serbia. Scenes of horror are chronicled...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Officials in Serbia today called "dark propaganda" a report by a US human-rights group that alleged patients with mental and physical disabilities were systematically abused, and that staff at one facility tortured retarded children. "We may be suffering staffing and financial problems," one administrator said, "but for anyone to say that we are tormenting our patients is a total lie."

Mental Disability Rights International yesterday released a report titled "Torture Not Treatment," an effort "to address the serious human rights problems that exist for some 18,000" patients, the AP reports. PM Vojislav Kostunica called the report "malicious" and said his government would form a commission to report on the "real" conditions at institutions described in MDRI's document.