The police didn't violate any regulations when they went looking for wanted individuals and stolen goods at the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou (Košice region) on June 19, according to the results of an official investigation carried out by an Interior Ministry inspection team.
“I can sum up that the investigation didn't prove or find any infringement of generally binding regulations and internal orders during the police action in question,” Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said on Tuesday, July 30, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He denied that any children were injured, as had been alleged. The minister added that this was a standard police operation. “The police checked the identity of 18 people, using means of coercion in the case of seven of them as they didn't respond to the orders of the police officers. All the forms of coercion used in the process have been assessed as legitimate,” he said. Two of the Roma inhabitants are said to have attempted to attack the police with axes, for which they were arrested on the spot and charged with an attack on a public official.
Meanwhile, the civic association ETP Slovensko, which has provided social services to the inhabitants of the settlement at a local community centre, maintains that the police SWAT team injured a number of people, including a six-week-old infant.
Kaliňák further claimed that the incident was exaggerated in the media, and reiterated that this was a standard move aimed at finding wanted individuals. The area has recently seen a significant increase in crime, he said. The case is being monitored by Amnesty International and the European Centre for Roma Rights.
The Sme daily in its Wednesday, July 31, issue quotes local Roma and NGOs as saying that the action was inappropriate and that during the police SWAT team action a number of people were injured. Moreover, the inspection examined the case without interviewing people from the settlement. Kaliňák says, according to the newspaper, that there was no reason for that as they had an official confirmation from a doctor that the locals did not suffer injuries that would need medical treatment. However, more than 30 Roma reported injuries. Seven were treated by the emergency medical care unit in Moldava and two in Košice. The ETP said that they were not contacted to give evidence on the case.
The raid in Moldava is also investigated by government proxy for Roma, Peter Pollák, and ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová, although the latter has faced difficulties in obtaining documents and testimonies.
(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
31. Jul 2013 at 11:00