Hungarian Police Hold Romani Boy in Custody Arbitrarily

According to a Roma Press Center (RSK) press release of April 9, 2004, Ózd police detained L.E., a 15-year old Romani boy from Putnok, on March 31, 2004, and questioned him without the presence of either his parents or legal representation, then held him in custody on suspicion of theft. L.E. was detained on the basis of witness statements.A 13-year-old boy had reportedly accused L.E. of stealing 400 Hungarian forints (approximately 2 Euro), but on April 1, 2004, retracted his accusation, stating that he had in fact spent the money himself. However, on June 21, 2004, the RSK informed the ERRC that L.E. was being held in pre-trial detention until April 27, 2004, because, according to Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Police Spokesperson Mr György Martossy, the “offended child’s confession hadn’t yet been filed.” (ERRC, RSK)

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