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Suspects caught in murders of Roma in Hungary are extreme-right promoters

Budapest, 9.8.2010 17:38, (ROMEA)

The Hungarian State Investigation Office (NNI) has completed its investigation into a series of anti-Roma attacks in 2008 and 2009 during which six Roma were murdered including a five-year-old child, the MTI agency reports. NNI is now suggesting prosecutors indict four detained suspects. News server Novinky.cz reports the detainees are promoters of extreme-right organizations.

The attacks occurred at nine separate places. They involved 78 instances of gunfire and Molotov cocktail attacks on seven homes. Police say the attacks are exceptional not only in the annals of Hungarian crime, but in those of Europe.

Six Roma did not survive the racist incursions, and another five (including another child), were seriously injured. Investigators say the attacks put a total of 55 people in danger.

András Tóth of the NNI said at a press conference that three of the four men detained are suspected of having fired shots at the Roma. Police say the fourth detainee was the driver in two anti-Roma attacks.

The NNI says the motivation for the attacks is also exceptional. They are said to have been revenge for an alleged wrong committed by members of the Roma community a long time ago and an attempt to create fear in the community. The victims were unconnected to one another and the places were selected completely at random. The attacks took place in central and eastern Hungary between July 2008 and August 2009 and prompted international outrage.

The attacks mostly took place at night, when the Roma were asleep. In November 2008, two Roma lost their lives in the village of Nagycsécs in the north-east when attackers threw Molotov cocktails at their homes and fired at them with shotguns as they fled. Last February, a Roma father and his young son did not survive an attack in the municipality of Tatárszentgyörgy. Both were killed fleeing their burning home. Last August, in the municipality of Kisléta in the east of the country, a 45-year-old Roma woman was shot and her 13-year-old daughter suffered serious injuries.

In the Czech Republic, a Roma family in Vítkov became the target of an attack last April when arsonists set their house on fire. The family’s youngest member, Natálka, suffered serious burns over 80 % of her body during the blaze. The trial of the four alleged assailants has been underway since May.

The Roma community in Hungary is the country’s largest national minority, comprising 5 – 7 % of its 10 million inhabitants. Along with the country’s growing economic problems and unemployment, Roma are more and more frequently becoming the target of seditious attacks by extremist political parties such as the ultra-right “Movement for a Better Hungary” (Jobbik), which made it into parliament during the recent elections.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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