Hungary: Life in prison for murdering Romani people
Yesterday the Associated Press reported that a Hungarian appeals court has upheld the sentencing of four men responsible for attacks on Romani people during which six individuals, including a five-year-old boy, died in 2008 and 2009. Three perpetrators were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2013 and the appeals court has now agreed with that verdict.
The court also upheld the original 13-year sentence for the fourth man involved. According to the indictment, the three perpetrators attacked Romani settlements near small villages in central and eastern Hungary from July 2008 to August 2009, setting Romani dwellings on fire and shooting people dead as they fled.
There were reportedly nine such attacks during which the perpetrators used firearms, grenades, and Molotov cocktails. The fourth defendant drove the getaway car during the group's last two attacks.
The racist violence shocked the entire country and led to accusations that the police were not sufficiently protecting members of the Romani minority. In addition to the fatalities, five Romani people were seriously injured during these anti-Romani pogroms.
According to the indictment, the men shot 78 rounds of ammunition, threw 11 Molotov cocktails and endangered 55 people total. The victims are still feeling the consequences of the attacks to this day.
As the sister of a 45-year-old woman who was murdered by one attack in the village of Kisleta said, their 81-year-old mother "still cries three times a day" over the attack that took her daughter's life. The victim's 13-year-old daughter was also seriously wounded when the village was assaulted.
The group of culprits was arrested on 21 August 2009 in the town of Debrecen. In the indictment, the prosecutor said the perpetrators were motivated by racial hatred during all of their crimes and prepared their attacks "with military precision" because they wanted to terrorize the entire Romani community.
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