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Criminal prosecution launched

A SECOND inspection by the Interior Ministry of the police raid in the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou has brought a new criminal prosecution.

A SECOND inspection by the Interior Ministry of the police raid in the Roma settlement in Moldava nad Bodvou has brought a new criminal prosecution.

Although the ministry’s first investigation of the raid found nothing wrong when assessing the incident, the subsequent investigation has nevertheless resulted in the launch of a criminal prosecution over four acts: the abuse of powers of a public official, the violation of privacy, the misdemeanour of mayhem and the crime of torture and other inhumane or cruel treatment.

The raid took place in mid June 2013 and involved 63 SWAT police entering the settlement to detain several men for whom they had arrest warrants. None of those men were found, but violence ensued and dozens of other inhabitants were injured, none of whom were charged with a crime. Inhabitants of the settlement, as well as several NGOs and Slovakia’s ombudswoman, have insisted that the raid constituted a violation of human rights. A special police investigation into the raid concluded that it was carried out in line with the law, however.

The raid was, according to the investigator’s document, done in revenge for an attack on police officers a few days earlier, the Sme daily reported. The investigation found that an inappropriate number of officers were deployed in the raid and that they used inappropriate means of force, allegedly destroying furnishings as well as the mobile phones of those who tried to record the raid. The police also used tear gas, causing health problems in a 1-year-old child. The subsequent handling of the detained Roma at the police station also constituted abuse and bullying, and caused suffering.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, Police President Tibor Gašpar and Prime Minister Robert Fico have come to the defence of the officers involved in the raid, despite the view of Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová that the raid was unjustified, the public-service Radio and Television of Slovakia informed.

Kaliňák reacted by saying that he was glad the General Prosecutor’s Office wants to investigate the raid properly and added that he believes the prosecution will in the end confirm the version of events that he has been claiming to be true all along, the SITA newswire reported.

“I will only be happy if an independent investigation states what the reality in Moldova was,” the minister said, as quoted by SITA.

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