Slovak court finally ends absurd story of Romani victims of police brutality being charged with perjury, exonerating the last such defendant
News server Tyzden.sk has reported that eight and a half years after police raided a Romani community in Moldava nad Bodvou, Slovakia, the District Court in Košice has handed down its decision in the case of the last defendant charged with perjury for complaining that the intervening officers knocked one of her teeth out. The court has found her innocent.
Judge Martin Baločka decided on 10 December to halt the prosecution of Irena Matová, the last of the six Romani men and women charged with making false accusations and statements against the police officers who, during the brtual 2013 raid, beat and bullied dozens of inhabitants of the Romani settlement. More than 60 police force members went to the excluded Romani community together, allegedly to apprehend a convicted criminal who was avoiding serving a prison sentence and to find property that had been stolen.
Instead of chasing down an individual or searching for stuff, the officers brutally beat the local residents, destroyed their dwellings, abused them with vulgar language and, according to eyewitnesses, repeatedly intimidated them. Nobody wanted by the law was arrested and no stolen property was found.
The Romani victims of the police brutality filed complaints about the raid, as did NGOs. The Inspectorate of the Interior Ministry found the police had done nothing wrong, and the victims' complaint was also refused by the Constitutional Court.
Six Romani men and women who had accused the officers of beating them during the raid were then charged with making false statements, charges of which some have been convicted, although the verdicts have yet to take effect. The turning point in the case came when the European Court of Human Rights found in favor of the Roma.
Subsequently, the Slovak prosecutor's office withdrew the charges from five of the six Romani residents being prosecuted, so the court acquitted those defendants in accordance with the law. In June 2021, the Slovak Government apologized for the raid.
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