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Court orders bar owner to apologise

THE OWNER of a bar in Spišské Vlachy must issue an apology to a Roma customer, Roman Pecha, after the bar refused to serve the patron and a group he was with, the district court in Spišská Nová Ves ruled. The text of the apology must also be displayed at a visible spot in the bar as well as in regional newspapers. It must state that he violated the country’s antidiscrimination law, the Sme daily reported.

THE OWNER of a bar in Spišské Vlachy must issue an apology to a Roma customer, Roman Pecha, after the bar refused to serve the patron and a group he was with, the district court in Spišská Nová Ves ruled. The text of the apology must also be displayed at a visible spot in the bar as well as in regional newspapers. It must state that he violated the country’s antidiscrimination law, the Sme daily reported.

“The court decided as it should,” Pecha stated, as quoted by Sme, adding that he would have been more satisfied if the court had also issued a fine of €1,000. That demand was rejected by the court, which stated that financial compensation is not part of the international standards protecting against racial discrimination.

Pecha and his wife visited the bar in 2009 with a group of teachers from a school in Bystrany and the bar’s owner, Miroslav Lorinc, refused to serve the group, reportedly saying that if he did so he would need to serve another 20 Roma the next day. Lorinc maintained in his defence that the group was arrogant and brassy and was making a mess in the bar.

“Our family runs several pubs which are visited also by Roma,” he stated, as quoted by Sme. “I do not have problem with this ethnic group.”

Vanda Durbáková, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the court’s ruling contined several errors. “Courts still have the tendency to minimise cases of racial discrimination,” she told Sme, adding that the courts do not take into consideration that this kind of behaviour decreases the dignity of another person.

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