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Ostrava court to deal with case of re-settled Czech Romanies

Ostrava, 22.2.2008 17:56

The Ostrava Regional Court will deal with a complaint that a group of Romanies filed against the authorities of Vsetin, north Moravia, who resettled them from the town to dilapidated houses in three villages elsewhere in Moravia, court spokeswoman Sabina Mudrikova told CTK today.

The Romanies want to prove in court that their human rights have been violated.

The court has not yet set the date of proceedings.

"We have received a complaint against the Vsetin Town Hall, Mudrikova said.

According to Romany activists Vaclav Zastera who represents the Romany families, the families from all three villages signed the complaint in which they described the circumstances of their resettlement.

A lawyer will represent the Romanies in court.

"They want the court to recognise that their human rights were violated which will justify their wish to return to Vsetin. Their main goal is to implement their rights," Zastera told CTK today.

He said the court proceedings could take place within 30 days.

This is not the only dispute in which Romanies sue the Vsetin Town Hall. In November 2006, Romanies filed a lawsuit against the authorities in which they accused former Vsetin mayor and Senator Jiri Cunek (junior governing Christian Democrat s, KDU-CSL) and his aides of five crimes.

They include suppression, abuse of public office, blackmail, criminal confinement and fraud.

Romanies said that they signed purchase contracts for dilapidated houses under pressure.

The Vsetin Town Hall has rejected the accusation.

"The police have shelved the complaint and the families have appealed the decision. Police are dealing with the complaint again and we are waiting for the conclusion of the investigation," Zastera said.

Three Romany families were resettled from a house in the centre of Vsetin to the villages Stara Cervena voda, Vidnava and Vlcice in the Jesenik area in mid-October 2006 by the authorities who pointed to the problem with rent payment. The Vsetin Town Hall has bought old houses for the Romanies through a real estate agency the cost of which the Romanies are to pay to the town for the next 20 years.

Apart from the Jesenik area the Romanies from Vsetin were also resettled to villages in south Moravia.

The Tulej Romany family that was resettled to a dilapidated house in Cechy pod Kosirem, south Moravia, has found itself in a very difficult situation because the local authorities ordered the demolition of the house that the Vsetin Town Hall bought for them and because of other legal problems.

Most of the Romanies seek to return to Vsetin.

The case of resettlement was recently criticised by some politicians and was dealt with by state attorneys and ombudsman Otakar Motejl.

While the police stated that former Vsetin mayor Cunek did not violate the law by evicting Romany rent-defaulters from their original houses and resettling them out of the town, Motejl said the Town Hall acted incorrectly and violated the Romanies' rights for respect of their family and private life.

Senators from the Senate human rights committee then supported Motejl's position.

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Czech republic, Vsetín



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