ERRC letter to Mr. Vasile Cotoara, Chief of Police of Mures County, Romania
23 March 1998
Dear Mr. Cotoara,
The European Roma Rights Center, an international public interest law organisation which monitors the situation of Roma in Europe and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse, is concerned about an incident of alleged police harassment of Calin Berar, Florin Cioc, Chirila Morar, and Gheorghe Notar which took place in Tîrgu-Mures on March 16 and 18, 1998.
According to information received by the ERRC, at 3:10 pm on March 16, 1998, police officers Ivan Santean and Vasile Gliga came to inform Mr. Notar-- who was in front of his house-- that he had to present himself as witness in a case of theft that occurred in the neighbourhood. Thereafter, the officers pushed Mr. Notar aside, forcefully entered his house, and requested that Calin Berar, Florin Cioc and Chirila Morar, all of whom were in the house at the time of the intrusion, present their identification papers. The officers offered no explanation for their request. Nonetheless, upon being shown the requested documents, the police officers reportedly kept them and ordered the three to present themselves at the police station at 8 am on March 18, 1998.
At 8 am on March 18, Mr. Berar, Mr. Cioc and Mr. Morar went to the police station. There, the three men were reportedly asked to sign a statement dictated to them about the way in which the two police officers had entered the house of Mr. Notar. According to this statement, the police had come to the house in question because they had been called there. The three men refused to sign this statement, as it was not true.
After approximately 1,5 hours of questioning, the three men were returned their IDs, and were released without charges.
The ERRC would appreciate any information you may be able to provide regarding the above described incident.
We thank you for your kind cooperation and look forward to your reply.