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Ombudswoman: Police violated human rights in Moldava nad Bodvou raid

Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová reacted to the June police raid on a Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou by opining that the police seriously violated the fundamental rights of the locals.

Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová reacted to the June police raid on a Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou by opining that the police seriously violated the fundamental rights of the locals.

“The fact that the planned search operation for wanted people was organised without house warrants – as it is allegedly complicated to obtain them – is such a grave failing that an ombudsman must warn of it,” she states in a special report called Facts Proving the Grave Violation of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms through the Actions of Some Bodies.

“It lacks logic and is against the goal of the police operation to conduct a search action in front of their households, and not in them (unless the searching is a mere pretence),” she writes in the document, to be handed over to the next parliamentary session, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Dubovcová learned that police officers did not have house warrants. Eyewitnesses claim some 50 SWAT unit police officers in approximately 20 cars rode into Moldava nad Bodvou’s Budulovská Roma settlement, late in the afternoon on June 19. They then raided homes in the settlement, according to a statement issued by ETP Slovensko, a non-profit group that works with ethnic minorities. The police detained 15 people. Some 30 people were reportedly injured during the raid, according to the group.

The raid was preceded by a conflict involving some of the settlement’s residents with a police patrol after a party on the night of June 16, according to ETP Slovensko. That conflict saw police detain two local Roma men. One was released four days later and the other remains in custody, according to the Sme daily. Both are being prosecuted in connection with the clash, during which a police patrol car was damaged. Locals contend that the June 19 raid came as revenge for the earlier incident, according to the testimonies recorded by the Roma Media Centre (MECEM).

Parliament has already looked into the incident. On July 3, Police President Tibor Gašpar told the parliamentary human rights committee that information circulating about the police raid has been misleading and untrue, SITA reported. Gašpar claimed that no one was injured as a result of police activity. Police officials have not received any information from the physicians to indicate that injuries occurred as a result of the police action, Gašpar said, adding injuries sustained by a baby were unrelated to the police action.

Dubovcová also slammed the violation of rights during the forced eviction of a Roma settlement in Nižné Kapustníky in October 2012, made under the pretence that conditions there posed a threat to the inhabitants. A total of 156 locals – including 63 children – were asked to leave the settlement within four days, without being provided new housing, after which it was levelled.

(Source: SITA, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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