The Spanish Inquisition for Serbian junkies
A Serbian Orthodox priest, Branislav Peranovic, the leader of The Spiritual-Rehabilitation Center „Crna reka,“ located in southwestern Serbia, administers a unique type of treatment for drug addicts.
He cures Serbian junkies with punches.
Slaps, kicks in the head and knocks with a shovel are part of his special "exorcism“ of the (d)evil rooted in young Serbs who have several years of addiction to drugs, and who are the currently patients of this unusual commune, which was officially established by the Serbian Orthodox Church with the legal permission of the Republic of Serbia.
Father Peranovic's therapy has been a public secret for years, but a secret video captured by a mobile phone was recently released last month in May. The scene reminds one of the Spanish Inquisition.
A young man is splayed out on a wooden table, lying on his stomach while sunlight falls on him. Two people hold his hands down while a third man, well-muscled in a green shirt, takes a shovel and several times kicks the young man’s backside.
He is screaming. But the executioner has no mercy. Between the beats he pauses for several seconds, taking care not to hit the icons on the wall behind him. An off-camera voice warns him: "Take care of his balls." The thug continues to beat the young man, so sharply that he rears up on his legs. Then stops. The voice commands, "finish.“
The victim tries to free himself but the voice orders, "Stop!“ The man with the shovel continues, kicking the young man in the head with his legs. The tortured man is staying along the wall below the icons of The Christ and The Mother of God. The Inquisitor kicks the victim in the face, five time by hand, like in boxer training bag, shouting: "Put down your hands, down your hands! “ and then begins to kicks the man's head with his knee. This continues until the young man falls on the floor. An assistant boosts the victim and the first "boxer“ continues to kick the young junkie, whose head hits the icons that clatter on the wall. The brutal session is over and the exhausted inquisitor leaves.
Then the video is cut...
In the next secret video, Father Peranovic personally "exorcises“ the devil from junkie with a shovel. It is the same room in the evening. There is a new victim but the same shovel. And the same "therapy.“ There are the same horrible screams. A voice, most likely of the man filming the beating, calls out "If he moves on us you are guilty. I am not.“ The "executioner“ from the previous video is presented on this too. Obviously good organized „inquisitor team“.
Immediately after the Serbian media revealed this scandalm the Serbian Orthodox Church reacted by disposing Father Peranovic from the position of the director. The bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church warned that he will ban the Center if the physical torture of drug addicts continues. The new director, Father Dejan Jakovljević, changed the way of treatment by announcing, "we will not cure them by beats.“
The Serbian police started their official investigation against Father Peranovic, finding elements of maltreatment and abuse of former wards as well as evidence of financial criminal in the Center. A total of nine people have been found guilty not only of abuse, but for practicing illegal and primitive "charlatan“ medicine within the Center.
Still, the publicly stigmatized priest does not think he did anything wrong. "Why somebody does not show the video where a junkie abused sick mother requesting from her money for the drug, calling her 'the whore' and 'the bitch', " asked this family man and father of five, on live broadcast on Serbian national television RTS, reminding viewers of the written agreement signed by the parents of his patients. According to the contract, he had the right to punish all types of criminal behaviour in this spiritual institution.
Parents who placed their children in the center confess that they accepted the treatment and organized support for Father Peranovic. They personally wrote a letter to the Serbian Bishop begging him not to close the Center as the only salvation for their sons. They also publicly accused the Serbian government for the absence of a national drug addiction program and sharply criticized the inefficacy of the only national institution for drug addiction treatment famous as „Drajzerova.“
"You don’t know what mean to have a junkie in the house,“ claimed a mother who paid more than 5000 euros to different doctors in state and private hospital trying to help her son, who has been a drug addict for years. "But he always started with drugs. Again and again. Only the Father Peranovic and the Center helped him. He is now smiling..."
Another mother, who also supports the abusive therapy, was not ashamed to say that she would like to have beaten son, in bed, with broken both hands and both legs, knowing he will be healed one day then to have a physically intact son, who will die for two years, as a junkie.
Father Peranovic has long been an ideal solution for Serbian society habituated to "push the problem under the carpet.“ In the name of the God, and hidden under the cassock, Father Peranovic takes the cross of responsibility not only from the Serbian government that still has no precise statistics of the number of junkies, but already from the junkies’ parents incapable to confront with tragedy of their own children. Leaving the "faltered sons“ to the Father’s brutality and accepting his inquisitor therapy as "beatific,“ the parents refuse to answer to the public the cardinal question: Why did they allow their sons to choose the drug as the only alternative in life?