Košice court dismisses video of police torturing Roma boys

A LOW quality video made by Košice police showing local officers forcing Roma boys to slap each other and then strip naked cannot be used as evidence in court, a Košice II District Court judge said on September 20, on the grounds that it was acquired illegally.

A LOW quality video made by Košice police showing local officers forcing Roma boys to slap each other and then strip naked cannot be used as evidence in court, a Košice II District Court judge said on September 20, on the grounds that it was acquired illegally.

The video was submitted as key evidence in the case of six young Roma who were tortured at a police station back in 2009. The judge’s verdict cannot be appealed, the Sme daily reported in its September 24 issue.

The original video was first published in April 2009 by Sme, which acquired the video anonymously. The daily wrote it is evident that the officers shot the video themselves. After receiving the video, the Interior Ministry acknowledged it as evidence, which led to the trial of the officers involved. The prosecution also considered the video to be legal evidence. Even then police corps president Ján Packa confirmed the authenticity of the video, which resulted in the officers’ dismissal from the police force, according to Sme.

Lucia Kurilovská, advisor to the justice minister, told Sme that the prosecutor always submits evidence that he or she believes is legal. However, the judge has final say over whether evidence was acquired legally, she added.

The police officers detained the boys for allegedly having attacked an elderly woman. According to Sme, the officers were giving the boys a “lecture” on their behaviour. The families of the boys then claimed that the police officers addressed them with offensive remarks.

Without the video, the case will now be based only on testimonies, and the boys themselves cannot clearly recollect the torturing anymore, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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