Grants Awarded

07 May 2002

  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Kloudas (Athens, Greece) a grant to represent the families of Mr P.G., Mr C.D., Ms I.A. and Mr K.K. in legal proceedings. On July 14, 2000, the municipal authorities of Aspropyrgos, equipped with a bulldozer, entered a Romani tent settlement, without warrant. In the presence of the Mayor of Aspropyrgos and the police, they demolished most of the homes of Greek and Albanian Roma in the settlement, together with all personal belongings in the tents. The operation was reportedly carried out without the authorisation or presence of a public prosecutor, as is required under Greek law, in cases of violation of privacy. According to eyewitnesses, only eight homes escaped demolition.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Kloudas (Athens, Greece) a grant to represent Ms C.C. and Ms A.K. in legal proceedings. Mr M.C., a Romani male, was fatally shot by a police officer, after being beckoned to pull over. According to the officer, the deceased tried to run him over and he shot in self-defence. However, evidence suggests that the police officer was not acting in self-defence when he fired his weapon.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Ms Furlan (Florence, Italy) a grant to represent Mr B.S. and Ms B.M. in legal proceedings. Mr B.S. and Ms B.M., together with their six sons fled to Italy in 1993, from Kosovo. In May 1994, Mr B.S. and Ms B.M. received humanitarian residency permits. In 1999, the permits were extended for one more year with the condition that they secure employment within that time. In mid 2000, their permit of stay expired. In January 2001, Mr B.S. and Ms B.M. received expulsion orders issued by the Prefect of Florence.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Ms Kusan (Ivanic-Grad, Croatia) a grant to represent 66 Romani primary school pupils fr om Međimurje County in legal proceedings. The case concerns the widespread practice in Croatian mainstream primary schools of segregating Romani pupils into separate Roma-only classes. Once placed into these classes, Romani students receive an inferior ed ucation as compared to that received by students attending non-segregated classes, and consequently, are adversely affected for life, in terms of their educational, career and other social prospects.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Igboanusi (Bratislava, Slovakia) a grant to represent Mr M.B., Ms R.B., Mr M.B. Jr. and Mr T.M. in legal proceedings. Two boys chased Ms R.B., her husband and son, in a car and attempted to hit them. Later the same evening, Mr M.B., his wife and his son went to a pub, where they met the two boys who had tried to run them over. The two boys insulted them verbally and attacked them physically. Two police officers showed up, but reportedly made no effort to stop the fight. Family took Mr M.B. home in order to get money to take to the hospital. About an hour later, seven skinheads broke into Mr M.B.’s flat and the son was hit on the head with an iron bar, causing him to fall down and lose consciousness. The son suffered serious bodily injury, including brain damage. The skinheads also attacked Mr T.M. and seriously injured him as well. Shortly after the incident, Ms R.B. called the police and the officers who had attended the previous attack showed up. Ms R.B. was taken to the police station for interrogation and the police also interrogated Ms D.M. According to a medical report, in the initial attack, Mr M.B. sustained serious injuries including brain damage and permanent loss of the use of her right eye.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Igboanusi (Bratislava, Slovakia) a grant to represent Mr M.D. in legal proceedings. On the evening of August 10, 2001, Mrs D. sent her son, M.D., to buy cigarettes from the local pub close to their home. On the way to the shop, he was reportedly attacked by more than one person with a baseball bat, iron bars and rods. M.D. was hit on the head with the baseball bat and iron bar, and kicked all over his body, causing him to lose consciousness. The attackers also verbally assaulted M.D., calling him a “dirty nigger” and a “stinking Gypsy”. Later that evening, he managed to walk home. Shortly after arriving home, he again lost consciousness. M.D. sustained brain injuries, fractures to his cranium, nasal bones and cheekbones, with an expected treatment period of about three months. According to Mrs D., she called the police immediately, who began investigation into the attack only after three days had passed.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Igboanusi (Bratislava, Slovakia) a grant to represent Mr O.R. in legal proceedings. Mr O.R. stated late in the evening of March 27, 2000, as he was going home, he noticed a car parked near the entrance of the building in which he lives. After Mr O.R. entered the compound, someone knocked and asked him to open the gate. As soon as he opened the gate, he was hit with a baseball bat on his head, causing him to fall to the ground, after which the assailant started to kick him with army boots on his head and all over his body. Four other unidentified assailants then joined the attack and beat him with baseball bats. As a result of the attack, Mr O.R. suffered serious injuries. According to a medical report, Mr O.R. sustained injuries to his head, arms and upper body.
  • In December 2001, the ERRC awarded Mr Igboanusi (Bratislava, Slovakia) a grant to represent Ms B.S., Mr Peter Sendrei, Mr Karol Sendrei Jr. and Mr Robert Gunar in legal proceedings. On July 5, 2001, Mr Peter Sendrei and his two brothers, Mr Robert Gunar and Mr Karol Sendrei Jr. arrived at the mayor’s house in the village of Magnezitovce to witness the mayor and his son physically assaulting Mr Karol Sendrei Sr., their father. The police arrived and beat them severely on the premises then searched the houses of Mr Robert Gunar and Mr Peter Sendrei without search warrants. Mr Peter Sendrei, Mr Karol Sendrei Sr. and Mr Robert Gunar were taken first to the Jelšava County police station and then to the Revúca police station, where they were severely beaten again. Mr Karol Sendrei Sr. was subsequently chained to a radiator and beaten to death during questioning by a police officer. For further details of the case, please see Slovak officials kill another Rom .
  • In January 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Ježek (Ostrava, Czech Republic) a grant to represent Mr M.G., Mr J.H. and Mr M.S. in legal proceedings. On June 30, 2001, at about 3:00 AM, at least four racist skinheads (all between 17 and 20 years old) attacked three Roma, Mr M.G., Mr J.H. and Mr M.S., as they were coming back from a discotheque in a highway underpass. One of the victims was stabbed repeatedly with a knife, while the other two also suffered serious injuries. Mr M.G. was shot in his face with a pistol. All three were hospitalised with burns and lacerated wounds of the face.
  • In January 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Olujić (Belgrade, Federal R epublic of Yugoslavia) a grant to represent Mr Zoran Radicevic and others in legal proceedings. Fourteen inhabitants of the Romani settlement on Zvečanska Street in Belgrade face eviction. Their sheds are in the neighbourhood of a clinical centre, which has submitted a claim against the Roma and demanded their eviction. City and municipal authorities have taken no steps to solve the situation. For further details in the case, please see pp. 137-138, in this issue of Roma Rights.
  • In January 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Antić (Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) a grant to represent Mr S.M. in legal proceedings. On November 3, 2000, Mr S.M., a Romani man, was physically abused by police officers during detention in Barajevo. Earlier that day, three polic e officers detained Mr S.M. in connection with an alleged chicken theft and brought him to the Barajevo police station. At the station, the police officers cursed him and his “Gypsy mother”. Mr S.M. was accused of the theft and beaten with a truncheon all over his body and head, even though he advised the police to question his stepfather. The officers then brought Mr S.M.’s stepfather to the police station, and when he saw the state Mr. S.M. was in, he confessed to the theft. Mr S.M. was released immediately, and threatened by the police officers not to inform anyone about what had happened to him in custody.
  • In January 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Antić (Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) a grant to represent Mr A.K. in legal proceedings. Fourteen-year-old A.K., a Romani boy, attended evening classes at the “Brača Stamenković” school in Belgrade. On October 4, 2001, five or six boys, all between the ages of 17 and 18, entered the classroom and began beating the four Romani students, kicking them and cursing their “Gypsy mothers”. A.K. jumped out the window to escape, but was caught by the boys and kicked on his head and body, and told to leave the school and never come back again. A.K.’s mother accompanied him to school to speak with the headmaster and at approximately 1:00 PM, between twenty and thirty boys, apparently fans of the football team “Red Star”, burst into the corridor, some of them carrying baseball bats and knives. Five Romani children ran for teachers, who immediately called the police. Following the incident, A.K. stayed home from school for a week out of fear. This was reportedly not the first such incident at the school, and school authorities have done nothing to protect the Romani students.
  • In January 2002, the ERRC awarded Ms Mihaylova (Sofia, Bulgaria) a grant to represent Mr I.C. in legal proceedings. The Romani man and a friend of his were accused of committing a theft. The District Court sentenced them to nine months imprisonment, suspended for three years. However, in a separate decision, the same court ordered the detention of the defendants. The court declared that the detention order was subject to appeal within a period of seven days, despite the fact that the defendant had been given a suspended sentence and therefore should have been released immediately. As a result, the defendant spent seven days in detention unlawfully.
  • In January 2002 the ERRC awarded Mr Ghere (Târgu Mureş, Romania) a grant to represent Mr C.B., Mr Z.B., Mr L.V., Mr M.S. Sr, Mr M.S., Ms C.C., Mr L.K., and Ms R.K. in legal proceedings. While travelling to the market in Bălăusari, the Romani group, including four minors, met up with an acquaintance and stayed the night his mothers house in Acătari on November 10, 2001. At approximately 1:00 AM, two poli c e officers (the Acătari Chief of Police and an officer) and another person in plain clothes entered the house by force, without a warrant and without identifying themselves as required by Romanian law. One-by-one, the police chief forced everyone to undre ss to the waist, including the women and children in the group, after which, body searches were performed, identification documents (passports) were confiscated, as well as some personal belongings and money. The officers reportedly beat Roma present, including minors.
  • In February 2002, the ERRC awarded Ms Bánszegi (Debrecen, Hungary) a grant to represent Mr J.I., Mr J.W., Mr I.S., Ms M.H., Ms P.R. and Ms G.W. in legal proceedings. Mr G.V. and Mr J.V. attacked various members of W. family, which resulted either bodily injuries, and in one case, the fatal shooting of Mr P.R.
  • In February 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Ghere (Târgu Mureş, Romania) a grant to represent Mr M.I. and others in civil legal proceedings. On September 20, 1993, three Romani men were ki lled by a mob of ethnic Romanians and Hungarians in the town of Hădăreni. The lynching occurred after an ethnic Romanian was stabbed to death by one of the Romani men during a fight earlier that day. Later on the villagers destroyed seventeen of the Roman i families’ houses, thirteen of them in arson attacks, as well as the personal belongings of the families.
  • In February 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Kashumov (Sofia, Bulgaria) a grant to represent R.V., T.M. and K.M. in legal proceedings. On November 29, 2001, the three male Romani youths were arrested by police and charged with theft, while they were helping a friend move his grandmother’s property from a village near Sofia to the city. The police officers brought the youth to the Zemen Police Station and severely beat them. The next day, the parents of the Romani youth went to Zemen and asked the officer on duty about their children, and were told to wait for the police chief. While waiting, the parents saw a police officer beating their children through a window of the station. A few hours later the police chief arrived, according to the parents, intoxicated. They asked him when their children would be released and informed him that they witnesses their children being ill-treated. The police chief insulted their ethnic origin. The children were released that night. The three Romani youth visited to a forensic doctor and obtained medical certificates attesting to their injuries.
  • In February 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Czugler (Budapest, Hungary) a grant to represent several Romani families from the Csepel area of Budapest in legal proceedings. Approximately fourteen Romani families living in an apartment building located in Csepel entered rental contracts with the local government. The local government, however, is not registered as the official owner of the flats. The Hungarian Government owned the property from 1967-1997 and a company acting on behalf of the local government was the registered user from 1982-1997. In April 1997, the property was sold to a private company and again in October 1997, sold to another private company. During this time, the families continued to pay rent to the local government, who continued to accept their monthly payments. The families are now threatened with eviction.
  • In March 2002, the ERRC awarded Ms Furlan (Florence, Italy) a grant to represent Mr I.B. in legal proceedings. Mr I.B. came to Italy with Ms S.B., his wife, and their son Viorel, in December 2000. Ms S.B. gave birth to a child in Italy and received a permit to stay for 6 months. On May 2, 2001, Viorel was hit by a bus and was seriously injured. He was hospitalised for several months. Mr I.B. has applied for a permit to stay, to take care of him.
  • In March 2002, the ERRC awarded Mr Cotoman (Lunca Cetăţuii, Romania) a grant to represent Mr. V.S. and others in legal proceedings. In the early-morning hours of February 2, 2002, officials from the state-owned electric company conducted a raid in the village of Zanea in order to collect unpaid bills and search for stolen goods. During the raid, police officers searched all the houses belonging to the Roma, without warrant, arrested sixteen people, and injured one Romani woman.

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