Around Slovakia

District court releases indicted SIS officer
Presidential Palace lit with 1,000 Christmas lights
HZDS to file charges for 'Kill Mečiar' message
Thrown bomb fails to break window glass
Police raid leaves Roma child injured

Bratislava
District court releases indicted SIS officer

The Bratislava District I Court released former Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) senior officer Michal H. on December 4 despite a prosecutor's request for his re-arrest. Michal H. had been in custody for six months under suspicion of illegal possession of arms, involvement in the disappearance of 200 SIS guns, fraud totalling two million Slovak crowns, and for involvement in the 1995 kidnapping of former President Michal Kováč's son Michal Kováč Jr..
The prosecutor requested the extended "preventive incarceration" on the grounds that Michal H. would continue his criminal activities when set free. Interior Ministry Chief Investigator Jaroslav Ivor said that the investigation would continue regardless of whether Michal H. is in or out of custody.



Bratislava's Presidential Palace is ablaze with lights.
photo: TASR

Bratislava
Presidential Palace lit with 1,000 Christmas lights

The Presidential Palace and the Presidential Garden in Bratislava were lit up on December 5 by over 10,000 decorative Christmas lights; 1,000 for the palace and the remaining 9,000 for the garden. To commemorate the occasion, President Rudolf Schuster and Santa Claus himself distributed presents to children from Bratislava, foreign students from Norway and students attending the European School in Vienna.


Bratislava
HZDS to file charges for 'Kill Mečiar' message

The Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) will file a law suit against an unknown offender who published a call to "Kill Mečiar, please!" on the web-site of the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), said HZDS secretary Jozef Grapa at a press conference in Bratislava on December 6.
Grapa also announced that HZDS legal experts have compiled 150 pages of collected statements made by ruling government officials. The statements are being examined by legal experts to determine whether legal complaints can be lodged against the offenders.


Považská Bystrica
Thrown bomb fails to break window glass

An unknown culprit attempted to throw a bomb through the window of a 77-year-old pensioner's home in Považská Bystrica on December 1. However, the explosive device did not break the glass and fell to the street without going off. The attempted bombing is the second of its kind in recent days. The police have since launched an investigation.


Krompachy
Police raid leaves Roma child injured

A 14 year-old Romany boy was hospitalised after being shot in the leg by police with plastic bullets fired from a shot-gun during a December 2 police raid in the Romany village of Žehra and Dobrá Vola near Krompachy. Romany organisations publicly condemned the shooting as another case of Roma persecution, and said they would now consider joining many of their compatriots in leaving the country to seek asylum in western Europe.
The raid targeted a group of Romanies accused of injuring patrons at an all night motorway restaurant called Non-Stop Dravče on November 19. A Roma against Roma gang-fight involving baseball bats, sticks and chains erupted in which three people were injured and one is still missing.
The police used a special commando force for the raid because they believed the suspects were armed, said Police spokeswoman Jana Demjanovičová. At a December 6 press conference in Bratislava, Slovak Police Force President Ján Pipta said that "criminals, not Romanies, were targeted.'
During the raid, which was approved by a Spišská Nová Ves court judge, police uncovered one gun, a bayonet, several machetes, chains and baseball bats.
Seven men were detained and charged with causing bodily harm. Jaroslav M. (33) and Ivan H. (32), were charged with robbery and causing property damage.
The injured boy, identified as J.M., was taken to hospital in Krompachy. The police shot the rubber bullets to keep stray dogs away, but in J.M.'s case they opened fire because he refused to obey police orders.
Pipta said the raid began at 18:00 and lasted till 21:00. It was monitored by the director of the Slovak Criminal Police Department, who said that no citizen's rights were violated. Pipta added that reports on the private TV Markíza stating that personal belongings had been thrown out windows and furniture upended by police were false.


Compiled by Chris Togneri
from SITA and TASR

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