Slovak Bus Driver Convicted of Defamation of Roma
22 July 2005
According to the Slovak Roma Press Agency, on April 19, 2005 Jozef Galla, a 58 year old bus driver, was sentenced by the District Court of Presov to two months imprisonment or payment of a 5000 Slovak Crowns (approximately 120 Euros) fine, for defamation of nation, race and belief in connection with an incident that took place on January 4, 2005. On the day in question Mr. Galla stopped his bus and demanded to see the tickets of three Romani sisters, Maria, Klara, and Erika Galyasova. Maria Galyasova asked Mr. Galla why he was only checking the tickets of the three Romani girls arguing that they were not the only ones on the bus. He responded that he was checking them first because they were "black tires" and that they "should have been sent to the gas chambers long ago." Frightened by Mr. Galla's aggression, the girls got off the bus. Their uncle came by car to pick them up.
Later that day, the girl's father, Mr. Zoltan Galyas, filed a complaint with the Presov Police Department and contacted Dr Columbus Igboanusi from the League of Human Rights Advocates, who took the case and provided legal representation.