European Roma Rights Centre gives legal aid to victims alleging Slovak police brutality
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has issued a press release announcing it is providing legal aid to Romani people who allege they were repeatedly physically assaulted by police officers in the village of Milhosť in eastern Slovakia. The incident happened on 23 July, when the officers first arrested and physically attacked two Romani men in a local pub and then later physically assaulted their female relatives in their homes.
The international organization is prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The police had been called to the scene of a brawl in the pub involving its owner and the two young Romani men, who were detained.
After being pacified by the intervening officers, both of the Romani youths were repeatedly attacked while being driven to the police station, according to the ERRC. "They took us into the car and starting hitting us all the way there," one of the victims said.
According to the ERRC, the youths allege they were then forced to stand with their foreheads against a wall at the police station while the officers continued to physically assault them. One alleges the police also spat into his mouth.
The youths say they demanded medical treatment but that it was denied them, and after being transferred between several different police stations, they were eventually released. In the meantime, the mother and aunt of one of the detained Romani men, after learning that they had been arrested and would be kept overnight, went to the pub where the incident had occurred to find out what happened.
A conflict arose between the detainees' relatives and others in the pub. When the women arrived back home, several police patrols were waiting outside their homes.
Police officers then entered and began physically attacking the families. “The cops came looking for us in the courtyards, they found me and grabbed my hair and pulled me out onto the bridge, where they started beating me,” said the sister-in-law of one of the detained Romani boys.
During the raid a handgun was allegedly pushed against her forehead by one of the officers. Another officer physically assaulted and racially abused a Romani man who was an onlooker.
A witness to those attacks contacted police and was told by the operator that an additional police patrol would be sent out, but no other patrol arrived at the crime scene to investigate. Three female relatives of the two Romani men involved in the pub incident were then detained and brought to the police station in Čaňa, where they were locked in the men’s toilets and the warehouse instead of being taken to the interrogation rooms, which are normally covered by CCTV cameras.
The women suffered further violence at the police station before being released at around 4:00 PM on 24th July. “It is no secret that the police in Slovakia regularly brutalize ... Roma communities. We have brought this to light publicly on several occasions,” said ERRC President Ðorđe Jovanović.
“We are getting tired of hearing excuses and observing practices which mean that police officers get away with these crimes when the investigation finds ‘no wrongdoing’. The ERRC is prepared to take this case, and others, to the European Court of Human Rights if the Slovak Police Inspectorate is once again unable to carry out an effective investigation which is not tainted by its own racist bias against Romani citizens.”
- Slovak Constitutional Court awards compensation to Roma for 13-year court case - but the discrimination sued over still has no final ruling
- Slovakia: Video of police intervention against Roma at gas station goes viral, sparks protests
- Slovak President: The Holocaust of the Roma cannot be forgotten, especially when hatred is becoming a political tool once more
- Infamous housing estate in Slovakia is finally turning around - continued
- Educator Martin Kaleja: From the Romani settlements in Slovakia to the Czech academic world
- Infamous housing estate in Slovakia is finally turning around
- Slovakia: Romani girl from settlement now champion runner in her region
- Slovak homeowner considers selling to Roma, so his neighbors graffiti his house and puncture his tires
- Slovakia: Dozens of children from orphanage ending up in psychiatric care - is it a business?
- Slovak Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities: We will focus on education and employment
- Czech film festival visited by seven Romani children from Slovak settlements to promote "Silent Days"
- Slovak Police arrest Czech citizen and two Slovak citizens on suspicion of extremism
- Slovak court grants early release to vigilante who murdered three Roma at their home, prosecutor complains
- Slovak President-elect creates minority adviser team, Roma represented by Jurina Rusnáková and Viktor Teru
- Slovak church bungles inclusion of Romani newcomer into First Communion ceremony, charges of racial discrimination being investigated
- Winner of Czech-Slovak singing competition "The Voice" subjected to racist attacks online
- Commentary: Work on antisemitism by US professor reminds us of antigypsyism in the Czech Republic today
- European Commission acknowledges racism is structural and beefs up the fight against racial discrimination
- European Roma Rights Centre reports on human rights violations against Romani people during the pandemic this spring
- Czech town to see exhibition by pro-Romani and Romani artists referencing the Black Lives Matter movement
- COMMENTARY: Even if the Czech Public Defender of Rights repeats the same lie about Roma a thousand times, that won't make it true
- Czech school claims it's "random" that white children are segregated from Romani children in separate first-grade class
- Newest Czech party tries to exploit altercations between Vlax Romani families as part of its election campaign
- Czech commentator expected stronger condemnation by politicians of the racist reactions to the worst arson attack since 1990
- Czech MP who said she "understood" racist death threats against Romani and other non-white children switches parties
- Czech police use dehumanizing terms if incidents involve Romani people, the media parrot them - and then pogroms begin
- Czech Interior Ministry report finds far-right party was the "super spreader" of hate last year
- Commentary: Czech ombudsman's racist remarks reveal his ignorance of Roma and of history