Court again frees policemen charged with bullying Roma boys

In the protracted case – lasting for seven years – the criminal panel of the Košice II District Court acquitted all ten defendants in the case of abused Roma children from the Lunik IX borough.

Lunik IX, mainly Roma borough of Košice.Lunik IX, mainly Roma borough of Košice. (Source: TASR)

Most of the ten police offers have now been released from service or sacked; they were charged with the crimes of extortion and abusing the powers of a public official. The head of the panel argued on May 17 – as cited by the SITA newswire – that the prosecutor failed to prove, both at the first and second hearings, that the crime took place in the way described. The evidence is not convincing enough, she added.

The verdict is not yet in effect, as the prosecutor immediately appealed .

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

The lower-instance court has not admitted the video, made by the police officers and documenting the abuse, into evidence. This was compounded by the fact that the testimonies of the accused policemen have been different and contradictory since the beginning of the investigation and this has only worsened over the course of the years.

The case goes back to May 13, 2010.

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 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 in 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.

The police officers recorded everything that happened with their mobile phones and were sending short videos to their colleagues. One of the officers probably edited the videos and transferred them to a DVD which was sent to Sme editorial who published the video.

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