For a third time, Slovak court acquits police of brutalizing Romani children a decade ago, prosecutor appealing
The District Court in Košice II has once again handed down a verdict of acquittal in the case of police officers abusing Romani boys from the Luník IX housing estate. The incident took place in March 2009 at a police station.
"It was not proved that the crime for which the defendants are being prosecuted happened," the presiding judge said in her verdict. The first-instance court has thereby repeated the same verdict of acquittal it handed down in February 2015 and May 2017, verdicts the Regional Court in Košice overturned each time after the prosecutor appealed.
The prosecutor announced he will be appealing this time as well. The incident at issue transpired more than 10 years ago.
Nine men and one woman on duty as members of the police force on that day were charged by the Prosecutor General of the Slovak Republic with abusing the powers of a public official and four have also been charged with extortion. On 21 March 2009 the officers detained six Romani boys from the Luník IX housing estate ranging in age from 10 to 16 at the District Department of the Košice-Jih Police Corps on suspicion of having mugged an elderly woman.
According to a video recording that the officers are said to have produced using their own mobile phones - footage that was later published by the media - the officers of the law humiliated the boys, ridiculed them, forced them to slap each other and to strip naked. The officers are accused of beating the children, vulgarly abusing them, and using police dogs to intimidate them.
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