Local activists of HCLU (Hungarian Civil Liberties Union) - who operate legal aid service points – have reported numerous times that the poorest people were penalized for petty crimes with massive fines.
The defendant of this case tried to travel on the bus from Farkaslyuk to Ózd (cities in Hungary) using his brother’s bus pass. He had no money to buy a pass, which is why he took his brother’s.
He was caught, and the police were called. Because he had all the personal documents of his brother on him (4 documents in total), he committed a crime: he was charged with defrauding documents. He has been fined 250.000 HUF (~1000€), which he obviously cannot pay, since he travelled without a pass, because he had no money. He will be jailed – and it will cost 900.000 HUF (~3500€) for taxpayers.
Although the Court has considered the perpetrator’s circumstances and applied the lowest penalty rate (it must be noted here, that Court had the opportunity to impose a penalty of 30 days instead of the above 100 days, and could also have imposed public service work on him as the punishment), it is such a sum that he will not be able to pay, and so he will be jailed for 100 days.
The defendant brought the warrant too late (which was delivered without any hearings) to the legal aid service point of HCLU (HCLUpoint of Farkaslyuk city), thus there was no possibility for legal redress any more.
So in this case the punishment won’t return the caused loss, it will cause an even greater loss for the whole society instead, since the punishment will be imprisonment.
4500 passes could be purchased for the line that passes between Farkaslyuk and Ózd for the amount of money spent on having him imprisoned.
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Most people hardly hear or know anything about the living conditions and everyday concerns of the Roma population living in extreme poverty, often in segregated settlements.
During their visits in North-Eastern Hungary, our colleagues interview locals about the issues they are currently most concerned with. The aim of our new series entitled “Make Your Voice Seen” is to deliver the messages of these people to a broader public.
Under the guise of observations "in service of the residents”, uniformed men terrorize children and harass adults based on their ethnicity or national status in Magyarbánhegyes. According to this, it seems as if police did not defend locals against persecution. (The Civil Guard Association for a Better Future with other extremist anti-Roma groups – pretending to be militiamen and vindicating the right to maintain public order – have started a systematic campaign of intimidation against the Roma for weeks in Gyöngyöspata, Hungary in April 2011. They illegally patrolled the village and provoked the Roma adults and children.The HCLU published its Shadow Report and a documentary video about the events. The summary of the Shadow Report can be foundhere.
On June 13, 2013 the trial of the actio popularis against the Heves County Police begins at the County Court of Eger. The lawsuit was initiated by the HCLU against the Police for discriminating against the Roma in Gyöngyöspata based on their ethnicity and skin color during and following the extremist “patrols” of 2011. At stake: will the court hold the state responsible for the discriminative treatment of the Roma?