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Slovak police officers charged over mistreatment of Roma children

An investigator with the Interior Ministry has charged seven police officers in Košice with abuse of power by public officials and blackmail in relation to a case which emerged last week of Roma children being mistreated while in police custody.

An investigator with the Interior Ministry has charged seven police officers in Košice with abuse of power by public officials and blackmail in relation to a case which emerged last week of Roma children being mistreated while in police custody.

Six of the officers have been discharged from the police force; another policewoman is on sick leave but also faces dismsissal, the SITA newswire reported. Two of the accused worked as police dog handlers in the Košice force. Another four officers worked in the motorised patrols division in Košice. The policewoman worked in the Košice South district police department.

The incident in question occurred on March 21. A robbery at Moldavská Street in Košice had been reported to the police. Police found an elderly woman lying injured on the ground. Shortly afterwards, police officers detained six suspects, all Roma boys. Three of them were younger than 14, the age of criminal responsibility in Slovakia. The Sme daily later released a video on its website showing policemen locking up the six boys in a small room. The video shows men in uniforms forcing children to strip and to slap each other in the face. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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