The manhunt for Roman Červenka, who is accused of bank robbery and escaping his police escort on January 17, is marred by a number of blunders, according to opposition MPs Béla Bugár (ethnic-Hungarian SMK) and Martin Pado (SDKÚ-DS).
"Why is it that a piece of information that was immediately entered into the Schengen Information System only became known to officials from the Czech Republic and Hungary after several days?" asked Pado at a session of the Parliament's Committee for Defense and Security in Bratislava on January 22.
According to Police Vice-president Stanislav Jankovič, the first input on the fugitive was entered into the PATROS national information system on January 18.
"Given certain incorrect data, the system failed to automatically provide the information to the international Schengen Information System," he said. He added that the error was rectified on January 20. Pado therefore questioned the Slovak police’s claim that "thanks to the Slovak Intelligence Service, Austria launched a hunt for Červenka at once." Why did the aforementioned input of incorrect data apply only to the Czech Republic and Hungary, and not to Austria?
According to Bugár, the trouble is that somebody is misleading the public or lying. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák (Smer-SD) rejected this claim, saying, "If we wanted to lie, we wouldn't have launched a (police) operation, we wouldn't be here and you wouldn't know about anything."
Apart from the technical difficulties, Police President Ján Packa conceded a human failure as well. According to him, the two police escorts informed their superiors of Červenka's escape after half-an-hour. As a result, the two officers will be dismissed.
Roman Červenka, 26, escaped by climbing through a window at the Kramáre hospital in Bratislava. The fugitive, who is still at large, is described as potentially dangerous, especially due to the fact that he doesn't have much to lose. He faces a life sentence in line with the Three Strikes, You’re Out principle. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
23. Jan 2008 at 7:00