Romani Family Attacked by Czech Police
29 October 2003
During the evening of May 12, 2003, five off-duty Czech Police Special Force officers forced their way into the apartment of the Romani family Daniš and beat 42-year-old Ljubica, her 23-year-old daughter Ljubica, who was 8-months pregnant, and her 17-year-old son Marcel, in the Popovice quarter of Jičín, northern Czech Republic, according to the Czech news agency ČTK of May 20, 2003. According to the Czech national daily newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes (MFDnes) of May 22, 2003, one of the officers, Mr M.V., had celebrated his birthday in a pub called The Devil owned by his mother just before the attack. A gambling machine had reportedly been stolen from the pub and it had been rumored that a member of the Daniš family was responsible. MFDnes reported that, according to the 8-months-pregnant Ljubica, just before midnight she heard several people on the stairs who then began banging on their door. Her mother answered the door and two men asked if the Daniš family lived in the apartment. The men then reportedly burst into the apartment, followed by Mr M.V., who asked for Marcel, and two other officers. According to MFDnes, at this moment, Marcel entered the apartment and Mr M.V. grabbed him by the neck and pushed him forcefully into a wall, accusing him of having stolen from the pub. MFDnes further quoted Ljubica as having stated that the officers pulled her mother's hair, ripped her pyjamas and punched her in the face. As reported by the daily, the officers shouted racial slurs throughout the attack, calling the Daniš' "black swine" and threatened to burn down their home. They also reportedly smashed the glass of a door in the home. Ljubica told the daily that when she tried to escape, the officers pulled her hair and forced her to stay in the apartment.
According to the Prague-based Romani organisation Committee for the Redress of the Romani Holocaust (VPORH), which provided the above details to the ERRC, an investigation into the attack for violations of Article 238 of the Czech Criminal Code (breach of domestic peace) by the Home Office Inspectorate was underway as of June 18, 2003, but no charges had been brought against the officers involved. Additional information on violence and discrimination against Roma in Czech Republic is available on the ERRC's Internet website at: www.errc.org.
(ČTK, MFDnes, VPORH)