Roma organisations outraged by attack in Žilina

The three attackers face four to 10 years in prison.

An illustrative photoAn illustrative photo (Source: Sme )

Three men were detained after attacking another three, including one Roma, in Žilina in the early hours of July 21. They have already been taken into custody by the Žilina district court.

“The reason is the concern that they will continue in criminal activities,” said Milan Cisarik, spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office in Žilina, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The incident outraged the Roma living in Slovakia and abroad and they are planning protests, the SITA newswire reported.

What happened?

The attack took place on Kuzmányho Street in Žilina between July 20 and 21. The three men, 21-year-old Lukáš, 22-year-old Tadeáš and 23-year-old Peter, assaulted a 21-year-old man. Subsequently, they attacked another two men, 19 and 31, who tried to help the former, spokesperson for the regional Police Corps directorate in Žilina, Radko Moravčík, described for TASR.

“Two of the attacked men were seriously injured,” Moravčík added.

The Teaching Hospital with Policlinics in Žilina confirmed that they hospitalised the two men after the incident. One, suffering from bleeding in the brain, was admitted to the anaesthetics and intensive medicine ward, while the other with an open ankle fracture was treated in the surgical ward.

If the court finds them guilty, the attackers can spend four to 10 years in prison, TASR wrote.

The police continue to investigate the case.

Roma plan a protest

“A young boy was beaten by neo-Nazis and fascists so badly that he ended up in the hospital with bleeding in the brain,” said František Tanko, head of the Roma Union in Slovakia civic association, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “It’s unbelievable how people start attacking us Roma, but unfortunately it is the result of the government repeatedly failing to solve this problem for more than 20 years.”

He thus called on General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár, PM Peter Pellegrini and Interior Minister Denisa Saková (both Smer), to become personally involved and not let this problem be swept under the carpet.

To show their dissatisfaction with the current situation, the Roma Union is organising a protest march to be held in front of the municipal authority building in Žilina. However, he failed to specify the date.

The incident in Žilina only results in the disobedience of Roma in Slovakia, Tanko went on.

“We’re fed up with situations when somebody beats a person only because they are Roma,” Tanko said, as quoted by SITA, adding that they were also born in this country and are its citizens.

Proxy responds

Roma expected the Office of the Government’s Proxy for Roma Communities or the People against Racism non-governmental organisation to comment on the attack, but it has not happened yet, as Tanko told SITA.

The government’s Proxy for Roma Communities Ábel Ravasz commented on the attack on July 24 on his Facebook profile, calling the incident “a textbook example of hate crime”.

Ravasz also commented on the attack’s motive.

“The empathy towards Roma in Slovakia is low; public officials and municipalities cannot tolerate or even support this state anymore,” he continued, as added by SITA. “Similar incidents have no place in Slovakia and deserve the broadest condemnation by possible.”

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