Police harassment of Roma boys returns to court

The case of Košice police officers who harassed six detained Roma boys is returning to the district court.

Roma boys at Košice police station, a still made from a video.Roma boys at Košice police station, a still made from a video. (Source: Sme)

The appellate court in Košice cancelled the decision of the first-instance court in the criminal case of police officer Milan M. and his associates accused of abuse of a public official’s powers by complicity and other crimes on April 18.

In total the court acquitted 10 police officers of the above-mentioned charges and four other members of the police corps who were also charged with extortion in the case dating back to 2009, the spokeswoman for Košice courts Marcela Gallová informed the Sme daily.

The appellate court found a mistake in the procedure of the Košice II District Court which decided that a video made by Košice police showing local officers forcing Roma boys to slap each other cannot be used as evidence in court. Further evidence has to be collected to clarify the case, Sme quoted Gallová on April 27.

Read also:Court ignores this video in Roma abuse case Read more 

The prosecutor appealed last year’s verdict, the SITA newswire wrote.

According to the indictment, police officers brought six young Roma aged between 10 and 16 to Košice-South police station on March 21, 2009. The Roma were suspected of robbing an elderly woman. The police allegedly attempted to intimidate the boys - who could not be prosecuted due to their young age – with a police dog, which bit three of them.

Subsequently, the minors were forced to slap and then kiss each other. The mistreatment continued in the building’s basement, where the suspects were ordered to strip naked within ten seconds, while police officers recorded a video. One of the boys was allegedly suspended over a handrail, beaten and forced to say the name of his mother.

A police officer was accused of putting a pistol to the head of another boy and asking him whether he wanted to be shot. The same defendant was supposed to have ordered the Roma boy to lick his boots and hit another boy with a shovel.

Police officers recorded all happenings with their mobile phones and were sending short videos to their colleagues. One of the officers probably edited the videos put them on a DVD and sent it to the Sme editorial which published the video. 

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