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Dubovcová: Rights of Roma violated

IN CONTRAST to police and Interior Ministry statements on the police raid of the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou, eastern Slovakia, the Slovak ombudswoman has said that by entering people’s homes without a warrant, the police violated a basic human right.

IN CONTRAST to police and Interior Ministry statements on the police raid of the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou, eastern Slovakia, the Slovak ombudswoman has said that by entering people’s homes without a warrant, the police violated a basic human right.

“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,” Public Defender of Rights Jana Dubovcová states in a special report called Facts Proving the Grave Violation of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms through the Actions of Some Bodies, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

Dubovcová suggests that the police officers should have had official permission to enter the houses of Roma along with search warrants. Without these documents they had no reason to enter the houses, she said, as reported by SITA.

The report should be submitted for the next session of parliament.

The incident took place on June 19. Eyewitnesses claim that members of SWAT units in approximately 20 cars rode into Moldava nad Bodvou’s Budulovská Roma settlement late in the afternoon and raided homes of the Roma, according to a statement issued by ETP Slovensko.

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 settlement 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. Police President Tibor Gašpar told the parliamentary human rights committee on July 3 that information circulating about the police raid has been misleading and untrue, adding that no one was injured as a result of police activity, SITA reported.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák presented the results of the investigation on July 30, also stating that the operation was standard and the police did not violate any regulations when they went looking for wanted individuals and stolen goods in the Roma settlement.

The Interior Minister dislikes Dubovcová’s report, claiming that she is mixing politics into the issue, Sme wrote.

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