Police Beat Pregnant Romani Woman in Croatia
07 November 2002
According to the Croatian national daily newspaper Vjesnik of August 18, 2002, on August 17, 2002, Ms Jugsela A., a 20-year-old Romani woman in her fifth month of pregnancy, was injured by two plainclothes police officers after a conflict ensued between the officers and a group of Roma who were allegedly involved in black market selling. According to Vjesnik, the officers approached Mr Enisa O., one of the Romani men, and asked him to show his identification papers. Vjesnik reported that when Ms A. realised that the two men were police officers, she grabbed the merchandise and attempted to run. A police spokesperson reported that Ms A. tripped and fell to the ground, according to Vjesnik. However, on August 21, 2002, the Zagreb-based Romani organisation Romani Woman's Association "Better Future" (Udruga žena Romkinja "Bolja budućnost") reported to the ERRC that the officers had beaten Ms A. Better Future reported that Ms A. receives social aid but that this is not enough to sustain her, therefore she must engage in black market selling to supplement her income. While both Roma and non-Roma are involved in black market selling, according to Better Future, during police actions against sellers police are excessively violent towards Romani vendors, often being physically abusive and using racial slurs against them. Better Future reported that it receives information from Roma about such incidents on a daily basis. According to Better Future, Roma are often forced to sell goods on the black market because they are denied access to employment.
(Udruga žena Romkinja "Bolja budućnost", Vjesnik)