Second acquittal from Slovak lower court for police officers filmed abusing Romani children at police station
News server Novinky.cz repored yesterday that the District Court in Košice has again acquitted the police officers suspected of abusing Romani boys in March 2009 at a police station there. The lower court has simply reiterated its verdict from 2015, which was overturned by the Regional Court last year after the prosecutor appealed.
A total of 10 police officers were indicted by the Slovak Prosecutor-General for abusing the powers of a public official, while four were charged with extortion. The prosecutor immediately announced that the verdict of acquittal will be appealed.
"It has not been proven that the crime of which the defendants are charged actually happened," the judge wrote in her final verdict. The District Court once again refused to recognize the evidence of an audiovisual recording capturing what transpired at the station.
The judge reiterated that the recording had been aquired in violation of criminal law and cannot serve as evidence in a criminal proceeding. She also emphasized that there were "significant" discrepancies among the witnesses' testimonies and that the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic had overturned the Slovak Interior Ministry's decision to fire most of the officers involved.
Six Romani boys aged 10 to 16 were brought to the State Police station in Košice on suspicion of mugging a female pensioner in March 2009. According to the content of the video footage, the officers humiliated the boys, ridiculed them, forced them to slap each other, and forced them to strip naked.
According to the indictment, the officers beat the children and intimidated them with service dogs. Prosecutor Rastislav Remeta disagrees with the verdict.
He will be appealing the acquittal of all of the officers. In his opinion the legality of the audiovisual recording should be assessed independently.
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