Slovakia: Two non-Romani assailants who invaded Romani home to personally deliver death threats given suspended sentences
News server Noviny.sk reports that a court in Slovakia has finally closed a case of home invasion and making dangerous threats in the municipality of Klenová. The incident involved two non-Romani men invading a Romani-occupied home; the reporting does not state when this occurred or how long the justice system took to deliver this verdict.
One of the men shouted that he was "Hitler" and that he would kill everybody there. The men rejected the characterization of their actions as racially motivated and sought acquittal.
The court saw things otherwise. The mother of the family described the beginning of the assault on her home as involving the man saying the following: "You dirty Gypsy woman, come outside so we can beat you to death. I am Hitler here, I'm the boss, I'm the master, I will kill you, we will kill you all."
When the men invaded her home, the woman was the only adult there with her children, including a baby just a few weeks old. The attackers responded to the facts of the case when they were brought before a judge on charges of making dangerous threats and trespassing.
The accused, both from Košice, denied that they had used force to enter the house and that they had damaged the door. One of their mothers, however, had sent the woman who had been harmed by their behavior money to fix the door.
The men also ruled out the allegation that their actions had been racially motivated and said they felt "defamed" by the idea. Their attorney asked that they be released.
The defense indicated that a long-term dispute had been underway between the non-Romani and Romani parties in the case about a wastewater pipe at the back of the Romani home. "This is an ordinary dispute between neighbors that should have been addressed and dealt with according to the law on misdemeanors - they [the Romani occupants of the house] had been warned several times that sewage is flowing from the pipe, literally flows, and ends up on their [neighbors'] land. Under no circumstances was this racially motivated," the attorney for the defendants said.
"According to the basic facts of the case I believe this assault certainly was racially motivated," Prosecutor-General Jaromír Ciznar repeatedly told news server Noviny.sk. If convicted, the defendants faced prison sentences of up to five years.
The first-instance court gave them a one-year suspended sentence. Both parties appealed.
The Regional Court has upheld the conditional sentence, which has now taken effect. "The court considers such a punishment to be proportionate. This is absolutely enough to achieve the purpose of punishment, which is to protect society and re-educate offenders," said Judge Vladimír Varga, who was the sole judge ruling.
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