Czech Govt Roma Council adopts resolution calling for investigation of the Teplice case and for the public to be informed
The Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs has called on the Czech Police, the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces (Generální inspekci bezpečnostních sborů - GIBS), and the Public Defender of Rights to do everything within their powers to investigate the case of Teplice, concentrating on the intervention by police and the circumstances of the death of the Romani man against whom they intervened. The Council is also calling for the publication of information about the course of the investigation.
The resolution adopted today has been made available to the Czech News Agency (ČTK). The case of the Romani man who died after the intervention by police has sparked a sharp reaction from Romani organizations abroad as well as protests both abroad and in the Czech Republic.
The police have repeatedly rejected the idea that their intervention could have caused the man's death. According to police, an autopsy has not revealed injury to the man's internal organs or signs of his having suffocated, but did indicate that he had methamphetamine in his body and died of heart failure.
The Council resolution first expressed deep regret over the man's death. "The Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs calls on all of the authorities and institutions responsible, in particular, the Police of the Czech Republic, GIBS, and the Public Defender of Rights, to do their utmost from their positions, within the bounds of their competencies, to achieve the proper investigation of the circumstances of the death of Mr Stanislav Tomáš, as well as the proper investigation of the preceding intervention by the Police of the Czech Republic and all related steps taken by them," says the resolution.
The final point of the resolution calls on the Czech Police, GIBS, the Interior Ministry and the Public Defender of Rights to publish information about the investigation in a way that will be "objective, ongoing and transparent." The Romani civil society members of the Council had previously called on Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) to attend the Council session today in person.
The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister. Babiš excused himself from today's session because of a prior engagement, participating at the V4 summit in Katowice, Poland.
Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková (ANO) said the approach taken by the Romani civil society members of the Council today when discussing the case of Teplice was accommodating and constructive. According to Olga Jeřábková of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, representatives of the Police Presidium attended the session and assured the Council that the case is not yet closed and continues to be investigated.
Both the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner and other members of the Council criticized the way in which information about the case has been made public so far. Jeřábková said Council members expressed the view that the communications of the authorities through the media have been unfortunate and have sparked alarm and distrust.
The Council also debated preparations for the position of a Government Commissioner for Roma as described by the new national Roma Strategy to 2030. There was also a discussion of vaccinations against COVID-19 in the Romani community.
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