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Collections against Romani arson victims ended - two out of three proceedings were begun "in error"

Budišov, 20.3.2012 18:44, (ROMEA)
Anna Siváková speaking at the "Concert for Natálka" in Benátky nad Jizerou, which was organized in April 2010 by Richard Samko of Czech Television, Martin Čurej, and Josef Pešta of the Respekt club there. Photo: František Kostlán

A petty debt for less than CZK 3 000 (EUR 123) for a mobile telephone has metamorphosed into three collections liens filed against the home of Anna Siváková, whose family was attacked by neo-Nazi arsonists in 2009. Siváková is convinced the collections proceedings were instituted without justification, and two of the three liens turned out to have been mistakenly filed by the collections agents. The proceedings are definitely ending now. Both Anna Siváková and Kumar Vishwanathan, director of the Life Together (Vzájemné soužití) civic association, which is assisting Siváková's family, have confirmed these developments to news server Novinky.cz.

"It's true, I am holding in my hands the decision of the court in Opava which Ms Siváková has received. All three collections proceedings really are over," Vishwanathan told the news server. Yesterday evening he personally visited the family in their home in Budišov nad Budišovkou in order to learn of the most recent developments.

Last week the family faced a media onslaught after it was publicized that a total of three liens had been filed against their home. The mobile phone operator which initiated collections proceedings and sold the debt to collections agents was the first to decide it would cover the debt from its own social fund. Anna Siváková, however, is convinced that she was never supposed to pay anything for the telephone. Several years ago she believed a sales agent who told her she would receive a free telephone if she subscribed.

Yesterday Siváková confirmed to news server Novinky.cz that the other two collections proceedings are now ending. "I received the decision today. The second collections proceedings was for the same debt, but it was being pursued by a different collections agent," Siváková said. Kumar Vishwanathan has confirmed that is the case.

A second debt being collected reportedly concerned unpaid health insurance from the end of the 1990s, which for some unknown reason the insurance company has not started collecting until today. "According to the court ruling available to me, this was a mistake, which Ms Siváková has proven through the necessary documents," Vishwanathan told Novinky.cz.

The family themselves are owed more than CZK 9.5 million by the racist arsonists who destroyed their home and seriously injured their youngest daughter in 2009. The perpetrators have not yet made payments on that restitution.

ČTK, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, Novinky.cz
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