Skinhead attacks and murder in Slovakia
07 November 1997
Monitors continue to document racially-motivated attacks on Roma in Slovakia. On March 28, 1997, around 7:30 p.m., five skinheads and their sympathisers aged 16 to 20 attacked four Romani men and one Romani woman on L. Ondreja Street in the western Slovak town of Prievidza. The skinheads allegedly threw rocks at the Roma and attacked them with metal batons. In the attack, a 44-year-old Romani man named M.C. suffered a fractured skull with shattered bone pressed into the brain, internal bleeding and concussion as a result of being struck over the head by a metal baton close to 90 centimetres long and 2.5 centimetres in diameter. The family are among the only Roma living in a predominantly non-Roma neighbourhood in Prieviidza. The case is evidently under investigation by the Prievidza police department.
According to the Legal Defence Bureau for Ethnic Minorities in Slovakia (LDBEMS), skinheads also attacked Roma in the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica. On August 12, at about 22 p.m. two skinheads attacked a family of five Roma in their apartment. The men were armed with a baseball bat and tear gas. Ms M.K., the twelve-year-old daughter of the family reported waking up and hearing noises in the hallway. She says she then went back to sleep, but was awoken again by two skinheads entering the room. She alleges that they sprayed tear gas in her face. The attackers are then said to have entered the parent's bedroom where they beat the husband severely. The wife of the victim described what happened to the LDBEMS: "They entered the bedroom and started to beat my husband. He went to protect himself, but they sprayed teargas into his eyes and they kicked him over and over. They were beating his head, legs and his whole body with a baseball bat. My husband was crying for help but I could not help him because they grabbed me and beat me as well."
The victim's nineteen-year-old son managed to escape unnoticed and he went to a neighbour to call the police, but all of the neighbours shut their doors and would not let him in. The victim's wife reported that when she and her family went to the police they were mocked. Following the attack the victim had to be hospitalised with serious injuries. The LDBEMS reports that the victim died on the morning of September 4.
On August 23, the Civic Association of Roma Self-Government in Prievidza wrote a letter to the Council of Europe, appealing for heightened awareness of the activities of racists in Slovakia. The LDBEMS, in conjunction with the ERRC, is pursuing legal defence for the victims. The ERRC is following the situation closely.