Grants Awarded

  • In March 2002, the ERRC awarded Ms Zuraniewska, from Krakow, Poland, a grant to represent T.G., J.C. and K.B. in legal proceedings. On July 31, 2001, 70 year-old Mr P. reported to the police that he had been robbed by a Romani man. The police asked him to accompany them to a local Romani settlement and, if possible, identify the perpetrator from among the accused Roma. Mr P. recognised two Roma. The police asked T.G., a local Romani leader, to help them find the perpetrators. Later, the victim withdrew his accusations. The police did not believe the statement, claiming Mr P. was under pressure from "persons of Romani origin" to change the facts. On August 9, 2001, Mr T.G., along with three other Romani men, were charged with Article 239/1 of the Polish Criminal Code for drafting a document alleging untruth. Mr T.G.was also charged with Article 18/2 and article 270/1 of the Criminal Code accusing him of forcing J.C. to falsify his signature on the statement. Mr T.G. believes he was unfairly targeted because of his activities as a Romani leader.
  • In March 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Eilmes, from Nowy SÄ…cz, Poland, a grant to represent P.O. in legal proceedings. On May 15, 2001, 17 year-old P.O. was arrested and taken to the police station for interrogation in the town of Nowy SÄ…cz. P.O., who is a male minor and mentally retarded, was accused of armed robbery. When he was arrested, his parents weren't present. After learning of their son's arrest, P.O.'s parents went to the police station and requested that the police immediately release P.O. because of his age and mental condition. They were only allowed to see their son two days later, and the police officer refused to release documentation of the interrogation. P.O.'s father also states that his son was ill-treated and threatened by the police. During detention, P.O. did not have access to a doctor. At the first hearing, P.O. was sentenced to three months in jail for armed robbery.
  • In April 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Dydychin, from Užhorod, Ukraine, a grant to represent Y.F. in legal proceedings. A police officer, with two other men, set a family's house on fire while the whole family was inside. Three children and their parents died, and two more people suffered serious burns on their body. According to one of the survivors, the arson had been organised by the police officer as punishment, because the family had not payed a monthly bribe. For further details in the case see: Five Roma Die in Arson Attack by Police in Ukraine .
  • In April 2002, the ERRC awarded Ms Novotná, from Husova, Czech Republic, a grant to represent M.D. and others in legal proceedings. On August 27, 1999, twelve persons attacked Roma living in several farmhouses in the village of Dvorek at Trebič, in southern Moravia, Czech Republic. In the attack, two people were injured and several cars and houses were damaged. Several other Roma fled following threats. As a result of police investigation, twelve suspects were detained and charged with rioting, damage to property and violence against individuals. The police, however, did not apply available provisions of the Czech Penal Code on racially motivated crime. On November 22, 2000, a district court sentenced all twelve persons as charged, but issued suspended sentences. On March 5, 2001, a court in Brno rejected an appeal by the victims. For further information in the case, please see: Denial of justice in Czech race crimes .
  • In April 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr de Campos, from Lisbon, Portugal, a grant to represent the organisation Associçăo Raízes Calé in legal proceedings. On April 10, 2002, police and officials from the Office for Foreigners in Lisbon conducted an operation against Romanian Roma allegedly begging on the streets of Lisbon. In the early morning hours, the police searched trailers belonging to Romanian Roma in the Musgueira district and arrested 205 persons. The 130 adults (59 men and 71 women) and 75 children were detained in a garage in the basement of the building belonging to the Office for Foreigners. The Roma detained were fingerprinted, photographed and, after a few hours, taken by buses to the Spanish border and collectively expelled. The Office for Foreigners claimed that the operation was conducted in order "to verify if the Romanian Roma begging on the streets of Lisbon together with their children are legally residing in Portugal."
  • In May 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Strupek, from Prague, Czech Republic, a grant to represent the family of Mr Ota Absalon in legal proceedings. Mr Ota Absalon, a 31-year-old Romani man, resident of Svitavy, was killed on July 20, 2001. Although the criminal case is not yet over, it is apparent that the crime was racially motivated and was committed by person(s) belonging to or sympathizing with the skinhead movement. For further information in the case, please see: Violence including rape and killing of Roma in Czech Republic .

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