The infamous police raid on Budulovská Street of the Roma settlement in Moldava and Bodvou took place on June 19, 2013. Since then, police have been found not guilty of any wrongdoing – but the situation took an even more surprising twist.
The coalition of non-governmental organisations (Equity, o.z., ERRC – European Roma Rights’ Centre, ETP Slovensko, Amnesty International Slovensko, CVEK) claim that the investigation of the raid was not consequent and detailed, not to mention independent, the SITA newswire reported. On the 5th anniversary, they point out that until now, no police officers have been made responsible. On the contrary, the beaten Roma have been charged, Ján Glovičko informed for the coalition of NGOs.
They do not agree with the findings of the investigation of the Interior Ministry, nor with the charge concerning six Roma for perjury – as they recognised the officers who beat them during the raid.
Police, judiciary missteps
NGOs also protested against the steps of the Košice I District Court which ruled, without a main trial and through a criminal order, that two of the six charged Roma are guilty. The activists point to the violation of the principle of consistency, since the first steps of the investigation steps were taken seven months after the raid; and the principle of independence, since the Interior Ministry inspection is not an independent investigation body, and the rule that a police officer cannot investigate his/her colleague must be observed, according to SITA.
“The court’s proceeding seems to be inadequately prompt in this case,” Jarmila Lajčáková of the Centre for Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK) pointed out for SITA. “The Prosecutor’s Office delivered the charge to court on May 30; while the single judge sentenced them the next day, May 31, 2018, through a criminal order, without any possibility of coming to court and defending themselves.”
The pro bono lawyer active in this case, Roman Kvasnica, is of the same opinion. He adds that the clients are innocent since the course of events they testified to in connection to the police raid was a description of what they had experienced.
“It is obvious that in particular their right to defence and a fair trial has been violated,” Kvasnica sums up.
NGOs publish their demands
The coalition of NGOs thus put together requests aimed at the state bodies, asking that the prosecution of beaten Roma be stopped, an independent investigation body be established, as well as addressing the top representatives of the armed forces not to use stigmatising language that worsen prejudices and not to violate the principle of equal treatment, Kamila Gunišová of Amnesty International Slovensko told SITA.
The NGOs have prepared a website, www.policajnarazia.sk, which includes the full chronology of the case, including statements of the public officials who politicised the investigation, as well as the demands of the NGO's. Updated information on the case will be published on the website as well..
Leonard Horváth, one of the dozens of Roma from Moldava nad Bodvou beaten by the police officers during the controversial June 2013 raid, now lives in Germany.
Police, ministry see things differently
The Police Corps President Milan Lučanský claims that the Roma beat themselves, and both the Interior Ministry and the Constitutional Court back the officers. On the other hand, the incident has been criticised by then-ombudswoman Jana Dubovcová and former government proxy for Roma communities Peter Pollák, the Denník N daily writes.
Horváth is one of six beaten Roma who have been accused of perjury. A man and a woman have already been sentenced, with one receiving one year conditionally with 15-month probation. The woman has not been sentenced to a combined sentence, due to her previous sentences and punishments, the Košice Korzár daily explained.
Four other men are still awaiting trial. They are accused of falsely declaring that the police officers beat them.
The case very much resembles the infamous case of Hedviga Malinová, Lýdia Šuchová of the Equity NGO noted, as quoted by Korzár.
19. Jun 2018 at 13:41 | Compiled by Spectator staff