Czech town ordered to pay Romani residents evicted in 2006, may appeal
The daily Zlínský deník in the Czech Republic has reported on the court dispute between the town of Vsetín and the Romani families who were evicted by the town hall in 2006 from a dilapidated building in the center of town, a dispute that has been in litigation for 12 years. The town demolished the building after the tenants were evicted.
Some of the evictees ended up living in the "container" housing in the Poschla locality, while others were relocated to properties in municipalities in completely different administrative districts - Jeseníky, Olomouc and Prostějov. The Romani evictees say their forced eviction by the town caused them mental anguish.
Four Romani families, a group of 50 individuals, later sued the town. They are seeking compensation of more than CZK 5 million [EUR 190 000] for the hardship they had to endure and a public apology through the media.
Courts have been deliberating the case since 2008. The Regional Court in Ostrava has now rejected part of the lawsuit and upheld other aspects.
"As far as all the apologies are concerned, that part of the lawsuit was rejected," Regional Court Vice-President Igor Krajdl clarified to the media. The court was more receptive to the demands for financial compensation, however.
The plaintiffs are each seeking CZK 100 000 [EUR 3 800] in compensation. However, the court has awarded them reimbursement ranging anywhere from CZK 5 000 [EUR 190] to CZK 30 000 [EUR 1 140].
The leadership of the Vsetín town hall is currently waiting to receive the judgment in writing. It will be apparent from that communication how much the town would have to pay in damages.
"What is crucial is the fee for legal representation. We are waiting to see what position the court takes on that. Once we know, we will consider our next steps and whether to appeal," said Mayor Jiří Růžička.
The current mayor "inherited" the court dispute with the evicted Romani families from his predecessor, Jiří Čunek (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL). It was during Čunek's time in office that the Romani residents were evicted.
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