Police Abuse Pregnant Romani Woman in Denmark

07 November 2002

On July 24, 2002, the ERRC received information from the Danish Romani organisation Romano that at approximately 10:00 AM on July 22, 2002, Mrs Mirjana Kaldaras, an eight and a half month pregnant 18-year-old Romani woman from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was assaulted by Officer J.H. at the police station in Roskilde, approximately 50 kilometres west of Copenhagen. Mrs Kaldaras's husband, Mr Dobrinko Kaldaras, an 18-year-old Romani man from Yugoslavia legally living in Denmark, told Romano that he and his wife married in Denmark in 2000, but that Mrs Kaldaras had been unable to secure a residence permit in Denmark. Romano reported to the ERRC that Mirjana and Dobrinko Kaldaras took their case to the Integration Ministry in Denmark, where Ministry officials reportedly advised Mrs Kaldaras to seek asylum. However, on July 1, 2002, Mrs Kaldaras's claim for asylum was rejected and the couple were ordered to appear at the Roskilde Police Station on July 22, 2002. According to Mr Kaldaras, Mrs Kaldaras was taken into a room and he was not allowed to accompany her there. A police office reportedly repeatedly ordered her to sign a voluntary return paper, which she refused. Mr Kaldaras reported that his wife informed him that the police officer became angry and grabbed her arm, shaking her violently. When Mrs Kaldaras escaped the officer's grip, she ran crying out of the room to Mr Kaldaras and the police officer reportedly followed her out of the room and threatened to arrest her on the spot and imprison her in the Sandholm prison to await deportation. Mr Kaldaras reportedly told Mrs Kaldaras to sign the paper, as their lawyer was on holiday, and she did. Afterwards, they left the police station and according to Mr Kaldaras, Mrs Kaldaras began having labour pains approximately twenty minutes apart but did not give birth that day. When the couple returned home, Mr Kaldaras reportedly called Romano and his lawyer's secretary, who immediately sent a fax to the Roskilde Police Station to retract Mrs Kaldaras's signature. On the same afternoon, Mr Kaldaras filed a complaint with the Danish Chief of Police against the treatment his wife had suffered, with the help of Romano. On July 30, 2002, Romano reported to the ERRC that it had filed a claim with the European Court of Human Rights in the case on July 22, 2002, claiming a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states, "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." As of October 23, 2002, Romano informed the ERRC that Mrs Kaldaras's complaint was pending with the Sealand Public Prosecutor.



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