Romani Men Offered Reduced Compensation by Hungarian Court after Being Judged Primitive

28 May 2004

In November 2003, the Szeged City Court awarded two Romani brothers acquitted of murder charges a reduced compensation in the amount of 1.2 million Hungarian forints each (approximately 4,650 Euro) after classifying them as "primitive", according to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) report of November 12, 2003. The RFE/RL reported that the brothers, who had spent fifteen months in detention as a result of the charges against them, had asked for 2 million Hungarian forints each (approximately 7,750 Euro) in damages. The Court's ruling was reportedly based on a medical assessment which found the two men to be "more primitive than average" and had, therefore, suffered less as a consequence.

On December 18, 2003, the Csongrád County Court decided that the Szeged Court had erred in granting the Romani men reduced compensation on the grounds that they were "primitive", but upheld the Court's decision to award only 1.2 million Hungarian forints each in compensation, according to the RFE/RL of December 19. The reasoning of the Szeged Court was found to be humiliating and was reportedly changed from "primitive" to "simple". (RFE/RL)


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