Slovak appeals court says video of police abuse of Romani children must be admitted into evidence
A Slovak appeals court has overturned a second first-instance court verdict acquitting all 10 current and former police officers last year of abusing Romani children at a police station in the east of the country. The officers' humiliation of the children happened in 2009 and was recorded by the officers themselves, using their mobile phones.
The district court has refused to admit those recordings as the prosecution's main evidence, justifying that decision by saying the footage was not taken in accordance with the law. The Regional Court in Košice has now instructed that the recording of the alleged humiliation of the Romani children be admitted as evidence during the district court's review of the case.
An edited version of the recording was leaked to the media when news of the incident broke. Six boys aged between 10 and 16 were suspected of having harmed and robbed an older woman, and according to the indictment the police officers shouted verbal abuse at them before forcing them to strip and beat each other.
The officers allegedly gave the boys other abusive orders that they had to carry out. The 10 officers were charged with abusing the powers of a public official and some were accused of extortion.
The officers, nine men and one woman, face many years in prison if convicted. The first-instance court acquitted them in 2015, but the Regional Court overturned that first verdict on appeal one year later.
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