Police Officer Enjoys Impunity for Alleged Abuse of Romani Boy
28 May 2004
According to information provided to the ERRC by Mr Nicolae Radiţa, a Moldovan Romani activist, at the end of July 2003, the Chişinău First Instance Prosecutor's Office issued a non-indictment decision in a case involving the physical abuse of a Romani boy by a police officer. On July 5, 2003, an officer from Chişinău's 5th District Police Station forcibly took Artur Albina, a 14-year old Romani boy, from his home to the police station, reportedly on suspicion of having committed murder. The officer reportedly did not present a warrant at the time he entered the house and took Artur to the police station. Artur's parents, Mr Mihai Albina and Ms Magdalena Ciobatari, who were not at home at the time, were not informed of their son's detention. According to Mr Radiţa, at the station, Artur was questioned without the presence of a lawyer or his parents and the detaining officer physically abused him, punching him in the head. Mr Radiţa reported that approximately three hours after Artur was taken into police custody, Ms Ciobatari went to the police station in search of her son and he was released. Ms Ciobatari immediately took Artur to a hospital where he was kept for ten days of medical treatment, according to his medical certificate. On July 6, the real perpetrator of the murder was identified. On July 10, Ms Ciobatari filed a complaint with the police, asking that the officer who physically abused her son be punished. At the end of July 2003, a non-indictment decision was issued in connection with the police's abuse of Artur.
In August, Mr Albina received written notice that an administrative court had found him guilty of being an unfit parent, fining him 300 Moldovan lei (approximately 20 Euro). The charge was reportedly brought against Mr Albina because his son had been taken into police custody. Mr Albina stated that he had never attended a trial in connection with the charge and appealed the decision to the Chişinău Appeal Court with the assistance of Ms Svetlana Neniţa, a lawyer from Moldova. The Appeal Court sent the case back to the Administrative Court for retrial. On behalf of Artur Albina, in February 2004, the ERRC, together with Ms Neniţa, appealed the decision not to indict the officer involved in the incident. As of May 5, 2004, the appeal was pending. Additional information on the situation of human rights situation of Roma in Moldova is available on the ERRC's Internet website at: http://www.errc.org/publications/indices/moldova.shtml. (ERRC)