Pregnant Romani woman beaten by police and then insulted by medical team in Croatia

07 November 2001

After she was physically attacked by a police officer, a five-month-pregnant Romani woman in Zagreb, Croatia, suffered racial insults from the medical team that arrived on the spot to offer her assistance, according to the Croatian daily Vecernji list of June 17, 2001. The incident reportedly took place on June 16, 2001, around 1 PM, near the Romani settlement Kozari Put in the Croatian capital of Zagreb. Ms Hanca Masic, a 31-year-old Romani woman from Zagreb, drove with her husband and two children to Radnicka Road in order to dispose of a piece of asphalt from their yard. As they were leaving, according to the Vecernji list article, a police car approached and an officer asked them to take the asphalt back, as waste disposal was prohibited on this location. Mr Safet Masic, the husband, argued with the police, after which the police officer asked for his identification and began writing a complaint. At this point, Ms Masic verbally confronted the police officer and he slapped her face, according to the daily. Ms Masic fell to the ground and lost consciousness when she hit her head on a stone as a result of the officer striking her. According to a statement given by Mr Masic to the newspaper, the police officer called his station, and informed his superiors that Ms Masic had hit him first. After this, the officer reportedly threw away Mr Masic's identity card and drove off.

Mr Masic then called for an ambulance, as his wife was still lying on the ground. When the ambulance arrived, Ms Masic - who had regained consciousness in the meantime - refused to leave with them until a press team arrived. A doctor from the medical team reportedly called this "Gypsy business" and insulted Mr and Mrs Masic with racist remarks, after which the medical team left at the request of Mr Masic. Another medical team arrived around 1:55 PM. According to Mr Masic, the paramedics said that his wife was bleeding, which is not safe for a woman in the fifth month of pregnancy. Ms Masic was then taken to the local hospital. According to the daily, the Zagreb police confirmed that there had been a conflict between the Roma and the police, and that the police were conducting an investigation. The police reportedly claim, however, that Ms Masic scratched a police officer on the face and threw herself on the ground. 

(Vecernji list)


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