Romanian Police Attack Roma

13 November 2006

According to a report issued by Fundatia Ruhama, an Oradeabased Romani organisation, on 9 May 2006, the police raided the Romani community of Gepiu, a village situated in eastern Romania, arrested approximately 25 persons and led them to the police station while continuously subjecting them to physical and verbal abuse.

The raid was allegedly justified by the suspicion that the members of the Romani community had used illegal connections to the electricity grid. Police officers, as well as members of the Police Detachment for Rapid Intervention, reportedly descended upon the Romani community in the early hours of 9 May, and without any warning, broke into the houses at a time when the people inside were still sleeping. It is not clear whether the police held a search warrant or some other authorization to forcibly enter the Romani houses. Upon entering, the police allegedly started hitting the men and women inside with truncheons, on their arms and feet.

The police cuffed 20 men and 5 women believed to have stolen electricity and led them to the police station, situated two kilometres away from the Romani community. The small convoy crossed the village of Gepiu by foot, in full view of the other villagers. In some cases men were cuffed together with their teenage children, due to insufficient number of cuffs. On the way police agents reportedly continued to physically and verbally abuse them.

When they got to the police station, the Roma were assembled in the yard of the station, under the close watch of armed policemen and police dogs. The police allegedly continued to beat them; one young Roma was brutally beaten, and his tympanum was perforated as a result, allegedly because "he was holding his hands in his pockets". The Roma were made to sign written statements, even if most of them were illiterate. Most of the victims obtained medical certificates attesting that they had been subjected to physical abuse. It appears that charges were eventually pressed only against 11 of the 25 persons apprehended.

In a brief press release, the police press aide stated that the purpose of the raid was to prevent and combat electricity theft. The police representative rejected the accusations that force was used or that the operation was racially motivated.

(Fundatia Ruhama)


Challenge discrimination, promote equality


Receive our public announcements Receive our Roma Rights Journal


The latest Roma Rights news and content online

join us

Find out how you can join or support our activities