Police abuse of Romani Youth in Ukraine

07 November 2002

On December 12, 2001, at approximately 9 AM, Eduard Buko, a 15-year-old Romani youth, was reportedly severely beaten by three police officers at the 3rd Police Station in Užhorod in the Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine, according to the Užhorod-based Romani organisation, Romani Yag. Romani Yag reported to the ERRC that under suspicion of theft, two police officers brought Eduard Buko to the police station from the central vegetable market of the town, where another police officer in civilian clothes was allegedly waiting. Romani Yag reported that the three police officers reportedly started beating Eduard Buko with rubber truncheons on his head, back and legs and also kicked him on various parts of his body until he fell on the floor. Allegedly, Eduard Buko lost consciousness several times during the assault by the officers. According to Romani Yag, the officers allegedly demanded that the boy admit to the theft of two pieces of chewing gum. Shortly thereafter, Romani Yag reported that the woman who had complained to the police about the theft stated that it was not Eduard Buko who had stolen the gum. Eduard Buko was released three hours later, according to Romani Yag.

Romani Yag further reported that later the same day, the mother of Eduard Buko, Ms Vera Buko requested an explanation for the treatment her son had received at the police station. According to Romani Yag, the officers reportedly yelled at her, using abusive language, and sent her away from the police station, allegedly informing her that they did not wish to talk to her. Following the incident, Eduard Buko underwent a medical examination in the local hospital, where the bruises sustained in the police department were documented and a medical certificate was issued on December 19, 2001.

On December 19, 2001, Romani Yag wrote a letter of concern to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine in connection with the case, requesting an impartial investigation into the alleged case of police abuse. On January 23, 2002, the General Prosecutor's office reportedly sent a letter to the city prosecutor of Užhorod, instructing the prosecutor to investigate the circumstances of the alleged police abuse against Eduard Buko. As of December 1, 2002, Romani Yag had not received any response from the City Prosecutor's Office of Užhorod. Police abuse of Roma in Ukraine is reported with alarming frequency. For additional information on the situation of Roma in Ukraine, see the ERRC's Internet website at: www.errc.org

(Romani Yag)


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