Ernest R. spent almost three months in custody despite police admitting that they had detained a man who is mentally challenged and does not understand the consequences of his aggressive behaviour. Ernest R. was caught throwing stones at police officers in Moldava nad Bodvou in June, which led to a police raid in the local Roma settlement two days later, the Sme daily reported in its September 2 issue.
The police were reportedly informed of Ernest R.’s mental illness after detaining him. The Košice-Okolie District Court judge however decided to keep him detained despite this fact. The court did not release him even after psychiatrists said in their expert opinions that he could not recognise the unlawfulness of his deeds, Sme wrote.
The Justice Ministry however said that if experts say that a person cannot control his behaviour then law enforcement bodies or the court should have stopped the criminal prosecution, according to Sme.
Ernest R. was diagnosed with mental illness in 1999. Since then he was hospitalised six times due to aggressive behaviour. The last time he was treated at the Košice clinic where a doctor prescribed him drugs, but remarked that “the patient does not have money to buy drugs”, as reported by Sme.
Meanwhile, Smer MEP Monika Flašíková-Beňová said she would approach the European Commission about the June police raid in Moldava nad Bodvou.
“It is clear that there is tension in Moldava nad Bodvou that needs to be removed,” Flašíková-Beňová explained, as quoted by Sme.
She said that her motion was a standard procedure of a euro-deputy and she would do it again if necessary.
The incident in Moldava nad Bodvou occurred in mid June. Eyewitnesses claim that members of a SWAT unit, in approximately 20 cars, rode into Moldava nad Bodvou’s Budulovská Roma settlement late in the afternoon on June 19 and raided the homes of Roma, according to a statement issued by ETP Slovensko. Police detained 15 people, and the group claims that some 30 people were injured during the raid.
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 Sme. 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).
For more information about this story please see: Rights committee rejects concerns over controversial Roma raid
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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