Czech hospital compensates Romani woman forcibly sterilized 14 years ago
The Municipal Hospital in Ostrava has settled out of court with Ms Iveta Červeňáková, a Romani woman who was sterilized there by doctors 14 years ago even though she never requested the surgery. News server iDNES.cz reports that while details of the settlement agreement have not been made public, the hospital has indicated it will respect a court ruling in the case, which means it will probably pay half a million Czech crowns in compensation.
Červeňáková originally sought one million Czech crowns in compensation. Four years ago, the Ostrava Regional Court upheld her right to half of that amount. The hospital appealed to the High Court in Olomouc, which ruled that Červeňáková's right to financial compensation had expired and that the hospital only had to apologize to her. Neither Červeňáková nor the League of Human Rights, her legal representative, found that verdict acceptable, so they appealed to the Czech Supreme Court, which has ruled that Červeňáková's right to financial compensation has not expired, as that would be unethical.
The hospital itself initiated a turning point in the case when it offered to settle out of court. Both parties have agreed not to publicize the details of the settlement agreement. "I really can only confirm that we consider this case closed," said hospital spokesperson Jiří Maléř. When asked by news server iDNES.cz whether financial compensation was part of the deal, Maléř just said: "We respected the court's decision."
The case was scheduled to be reviewed by the Olomouc High Court once more, but since both parties have confirmed that it has been settled out of court, there will be no hearing. The development could mark a precedent for the many other women who have been forcibly sterilized. By the end of 2005, about 80 predominantly Romani women had turned to the Czech ombudsman with complaints that their fertility had been brought to an end against their will.
The League of Human Rights says the problem of forced sterilization is not over. The organization is still considering filing a complaint by multiple applicants with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
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