Slovak Government apologizes to Romani community for brutal police raid in 2013
The Government of Slovakia has apologized for a police raid on a Romani community in the east of the country in 2013 and for the subsequent prosecution of those residents who reported the raid for allegedly making false statements; most of those prosecuted have since been acquitted. NGOs also warned that the police raid on Moldava nad Bodvou in June 2013 had been too intense.
According to civil rights activists, several dozen special riot units drove into the settlement and began conducting house searches using unnecessary force. The Inspectorate of the Interior Ministry found the officers had done nothing wrong and the Constitutional Court also rejected a complaint about the raid.
Six Romani people who alleged officers had beaten them during the raid were then charged with making false statements and some were found guilty of that charge and sentenced, after which they appealed. The turning point was a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights that found the Romani people's rights had been violated.
The prosecutor subsequently withdrew the charges against five of those who had been charged with making false statements and the court acquitted them in accordance with the law. The Slovak Justice Ministry has commented on the Government's decision to apologize as follows: "The Government perceives this apology to be not just a humane gesture to the victims who have been harmed, but also as a commitment by the state to avoid such failures in the future and as a signal that law enforcement has a sincere interest in earning the trust of civil society."
Ministers had previously met to discuss a draft of the apology for the police raid but did not come to a decision right away. They ultimately adopted a version that did not include a particular formulation about the justice system and the state having committed wrongdoing.
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