Czech doctor not to be punished for sterilising Romany woman
The Czech Constitutional Court (US) has dismissed the complaint lodged by Romany woman Iveta Cervenakova who wanted two doctors who sterilised her, allegedly without her consent, in Ostrava, North Moravia, in 1997, to be punished.
Cervenakova challenged the decision of the police who shelved a criminal complaint against the two doctors.
The police decision was later upheld by the state attorney's office.
The US ruled that the decision of the investigators and state attorney's office could not infringe upon Cervenakova's rights, guaranteed by the constitution.
"The law-enforcement bodies based their decision to shelve the case on the collected evidence that was mutually confronted and they rightly explained their conclusions," judge-rapporteur Stanislav Balik said in the ruling.
In a different lawsuit, Cervenakova demanded an apology and compensation for unwanted sterilisation. The Regional Court recognised her right to the financial compensation of 500,000 crowns but the High Court later ruled the legal deadline for financial compensation expired in her case.
The hospital will only have to apologise to Cervenakova, under the court's verdict.
Cervenakova underwent sterilisation 11 years ago when she gave birth to her second child that was delivered by Caesarean section, like in the case of her first child.
Sterilisation on her was performed simultaneously with Caesarean section.
Cervenakova allegedly learnt that she would not be able to have more children seven years later. She said she had not been properly informed about what the operation meant.
Cervenakova's lawyers say both doctors may have committed bodily harm. They said sterilisation without consent was inhuman and humiliating.
The US said the "intervention seriously affected the complainant's family life." On the other hand, law-enforcement bodies could not infringe upon the complainant's basic rights safeguarded by the constitution, it added.
If new facts appear, the proceedings can be reopened, the US ruling said.
European Romany activists claim that involuntary sterilisation has occurred in Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, but the biggest number in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the 1990s.
Cervenakova is one of a number of Romany women who feel damaged by what they call sterilisation without their consent. Since 2005, some 89 Czech Romany women have filed complaints about forced sterilisation with the Czech Ombudsman's Office.
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