News Briefs

Balážová murderer sentenced to seven years
Radical Action Group claims Bekesceba graffiti
Key witness detained in mob boss trial
Cabinet to discuss higher doctors' wages

Balážová murderer sentenced to seven years

The Banská Bystrica District Military Court on March 30 sentenced Peter Bandur to seven years in prison for the racially motivated crime of causing serious bodily harm and trespassing. Bandur killed Roma mother of eight Anaztázia Balážová on August 20, 2000 when he struck her on the head with a baseball bat during an attack in the Roma family's home.
In his testimony, Bandur, a 26 year-old army conscript, confessed to the murder and said that he was sorry for his actions. Three other men involved in the attack are awaiting trial.

Radical Action Group claims Bekesceba graffiti

A group calling itself the Radical Action Group claimed responsibility for anti-Slovak graffiti spray-painted in the Hungarian town of Bekescsaba at the end of March. The admission came March 29 in a letter sent to Hungarian dailies Bekes Megyei Hirlap and Bekes Megyei Lap.
"We are not fascists," the letter read, saying that the group had acted in response to anti-Hungarian graffiti recently found in Bratislava and Košice. "We do not demand the gallows for [all] Slovaks, just those nazis living in Slovakia who sprayed Hungarian institutions with racist, anti-Hungarian phrases".
Bekescsaba police have put out a 100,000 Hungarian forint ($30,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprits.

Key witness detained in mob boss trial

Alexander Horváth, the key witness in the court case against Banská Bystrica mob boss Mikuláš Černák, was detained by police March 30 after repeatedly attempting to flee the country, said Interior Ministry Chief Investigator Jaroslav Ivor. Horváth said he had attempted to flee because he feared for his life.
Černák was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1999 on charges of blackmail, extortion and the murder of Polish businessman Grzegorz Szymanek. In a February 2001 appeals case, Slovakia's Supreme Court upheld an eight and a half year sentence for blackmail, but sent the murder charges back for retrial after Horváth changed his testimony twice during the hearing.
According to Horváth's original testimony, two other Slovak mob bosses, Róbert Holub and Štefan Fabián, had also been present at the murder of the Pole. Both were murdered in 1997, making Horváth and Černák the only living witnesses to the crime.

Cabinet to discuss higher doctors' wages

Health Minister Roman Kováč announced April 2 that he would submit a proposal to increase health sector wages to the cabinet by mid-April. A previous discussion of the topic on February 21 was called off to give Kováč time to draw up proposals for preventing health care sector debt from growing.

Compiled by Chris Togneri from SITA and TASR

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