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Czech Republic: Civil trial opens over compensation for brutalized Romani family

Plzeň, 19.10.2013 19:52, (ROMEA)
Defendants Václav Boublík and Jiří Miškovič during their trial for assault in Nýrsko last year. Photo: Romea.cz
Defendants Václav Boublík and Jiří Miškovič during their trial for assault in Nýrsko last year. Photo: Romea.cz

On 16 October the civil trial began in Plzeň in the case of compensation for a brutal attack on a Romani family in Nýrsko in 2011. Last year a criminal court in Klatovy gave defendants Václav Boublík and Jiří Miškovič suspended sentences for their roles in the incident.

The six victims are now suing their attackers in civil court and demanding compensation for the trauma caused them ranging between CZK 25 000 and CZK 60 000 per person for a total of roughly CZK 200 000. The court has not yet issued a verdict in the civil case.

Members of the victimized Červeňák family did not attend today's hearing. They are still afraid to leave their home or to encounter larger groups of people.

Several family members continue to suffer from anxiety and depression. "I feel the stress to this day, whenever I am startled by a bang or a shout I start shaking, my heart starts beating fast. I'm afraid of people, I don't trust them," Miroslav Červeňák described his situation previously.

The family reportedly only leaves their home when it is absolutely necessary. Today witnesses who are friends of the defendants all testified that there is no anti-Romani sentiment or exacerbated racial emotions in Nýrsko.  

A Romani man testified on behalf of Boublík and Miškovič, claiming to have been a friend of theirs for years and saying he believes they are neither anti-Romani nor racist. When David Oplatek, a lawyer from the In IUSTITIA organization who is representing the Červeňák family, asked the character witness why he had not testified for the defendants previously, he said that while he hadn't seen them in years until recently, they were now going out for beer together more.   

Mayor of Nýrsko Miloslav Rubáš told the court there is no anti-Romani sentiment in the town. During his 15 years in office he said could not recall any anti-Romani assemblies or protests.

The victims' attorney says such information has nothing to do with the case of the victimized Romani family. "Today evidence was presented by the defendants concerning the course of the assault, but a criminal court has already ruled on what happened and the civil court is bound by that criminal verdict. Other witnesses talked about the atmosphere and coexistence between the majority population and the Romani minority in Nýrsko today, but that has nothing to do with this case," Oplatek told news server Romea.cz.

According to expert medical witnesses, Miroslav Červeňák is suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. After the assault he developed post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Another party to the civil suit, Jitka Vačková, was said by medical experts to suffer from maladaptation to a stressful event and to experience states of distress in which she feels she will never be able to cope with what happened to her and her family. According to last year's criminal verdict from the court in Klatovy, on 30 July 2011 Boublík, who was 20 years old at the time, and Miškovič, who was 24, verbally assaulted a Romani boy in Nýrsko, threatening him with a baseball bat and subjecting him to racist abuse.    

The youth fled. According to the criminal verdict, both assailants followed him to his family's home.

One attacker attempted to strike a Romani woman there with the baseball bat and struck a Romani man in the face, dragging him out of the dwelling and strangling him with a sweatshirt. According to the case file and the testimony of the Romani victims, the young men also threatened to murder the family.


ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Anticiganismus, Napadení, antigypsyism, Czech republic, Hate violence, human rights, intolerance, news, Racism, Roma



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