Roma plaintiff wins civil suit contesting restaurant discrimination in Hungary

15 July 1997

According to the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI), on July 7, 1997, a city court in Pécs, south ern Hungary, ordered restaurant owner József Berta to pay a 150,000 HUF fine (approximately 820 USD) to Mr. Gyula Góman, a Romani man whom he had refused to serve in September 1995. Ruling in a civil lawsuit brought on behalf of the victim by attorney Imre Furmann, the court found that Mr. Berta had violated Mr. Góman's rights by refusing to serve him because of his ethnic origin. According to the 1996 White Booklet published by NEKI, Mr. Berta told Mr. Góman that he would not serve him because, "No Gypsy is allowed to eat, drink or enjoy himself in my pub." Earlier in the year, a second instance criminal court in Pécs upheld a lower court ruling in connection with the same incident and imposed a fine for slander on Mr. Berta (see Roma Rights, Spring 1997).

NEKI has reported that the civil court additionally ruled that Mr. Berta be required to place an announcement publicly apologising to Mr. Góman at his own expense in Népszabadság, Hungary's most widely read daily newspaper. The text of the public apology has been specified by court, but had not yet been made public at the time of publication. (NEKI)


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