Special needs Roma compensated for illegal custody

The incident happened nine years ago.

Moldava nad Bodvou, eastern Slovakia.Moldava nad Bodvou, eastern Slovakia. (Source: SME - Tibor Somogyi)

A 30-year old Roma with mental special needs illegally held in custody for weeks in 2013 will get compensation, ruled the Bratislava I District Court. The man from Moldava nad Bodvou in eastern Slovakia will get €4,000 as compensation for non-pecuniary damages, informed the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

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"In the proceeding it was duly established that the unlawful detention had an impact on the plaintiff and his personal life, in particular because the detention was carried out on a disadvantaged person without adequate measures," said Ján Bartánus, the man's lawyer.

Related article She cannot read, she does not understand. Last victim of police raid still faces prosecution Read more 

According to the ERRC, the victim was detained on the night between June 15 and 16, 2013 in the Roma community on Budulovska Street in Moldava nad Bodvou. A celebration was taking place at the time.

"Around 11 P.M., a state police patrol came and asked they turn the music down, which the locals agreed to and the celebration ended. Later that night, a patrol arrived again to crack down on one of the Roma boys in the community. This resulted in an incident during which several children and the man started throwing stones at the police car," said the centre in a statement. Later on June 19 the man was taken into custody.

The ERRC says the Code of Criminal Procedure states that a person who cannot recognize the illegality of their conduct or control it due to a mental disorder is not criminally liable due to so-called insanity.

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Related article The court acquits the first Roma person in the Moldava raid case Read more 

"According to the code, it is imperative to stop prosecution if insanity is proved. In case of this man, an expert's report confirmed his mental disability. Despite the fact that the investigator had the report, instead of immediately releasing the man he was held in custody for another four weeks," the centre said. Moreover, the Roma man complained he was beaten and harassed by other prisoners.

As well, his acquaintances informed the police that he had mental special needs after his arrest. Disciplinary proceedings were initiated against the prosecutor and the investigator in October 2013.

The ERRC added that this event preceded the now infamous police raid in the Roma community in Moldava nad Bodvou on June 19 of the same year.

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