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Civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council demand thorough investigation of Romani man's death as soon as possible

23.10.2016 17:03
The Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs (23 October 2014 session). (PHOTO:  František Bikár)
The Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs (23 October 2014 session). (PHOTO: František Bikár)

Several members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs are demanding that the criminal justice authorities thoroughly investigate the death of a young Romani in Žatec as soon as possible. News server Romea.cz publishes their declaration here in full translation:

Civil society members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs insist on thorough investigation of the case of the death of a young man in a pizzeria in Žatec

As members of the advisory body to the Government of the Czech Republic, we would like to draw attention to the disturbing course of the investigation into the death of a young Romani man, M. D., on 18 October in a pizzeria in Žatec. The results of a rapidly-performed autopsy did not find evidence of third-party culpability with respect to his demise.

However, video footage exists and has been published by news server www.romea.cz that has sparked many questions about the circumstances of this death. Also, eyewitnesses have given testimony to that news server in which they say, for example, that it is likely that a third party was culpable with respect to this death.

The young man, who was allegedly bothering others, is said by those eyewitnesses to have first been "pacified" by an employee of the restaurant, then by several other customers, and then by the local police patrol who were called to the scene. Eyewitness testimony states that these people used means such as kicking the man in the neck area and using other blows.

The parents of the young man were not allowed to see his body, even though identification of a crime victim by his family is otherwise standard procedure. In connection with all of the above, it is highly possible to assume that disproportionate force may have been used by somebody that might have deteriorated the young man's state of health and could have eventually also been a cause of his death.

We are therefore demanding a consistent, thorough investigation of this entire case by the criminal justice authorities as soon as possible. We believe that together, we will be able to avert any potential security risks posed by possible responses to these events.

We expect to be informed of the results of this investigation through the Chair of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs, Mr Jiří Dienstbier, Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation. We also ask that the family of the deceased be informed about the course of the investigation.

We believe that a thorough investigation of this case will contribute to calming the situation and that the concerns now held by many Romani citizens about their safety in this country will be assuaged.

Signed by the following members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs:

  • Jan Balog, Vice-Chair
  • Bc. Martina Horváthová, member
  • PhDr. Jana Horváthová, member
  • Bc. Lýdia Poláčková, member
  • Mgr. Lucie Fuková, member
  • PhDr. Renáta Köttnerová, member
  • Čeněk Růžička, member
  • Mgr. Jan Kudry, Ph.D., member
  • Bc. Michal Mižigár, member
  • Ing. Karel Holomek, member
  • František Bikár, člen
press release of the civil society members of the Czech Government Council on Roma Minority Affairs, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Policie, Rada vlády pro záležitosti romské menšiny, Smrt Roma v Žatci, úmrtí



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