How can a light shine when it's facing the sun?

In our video, you can hear about Joseph’s story, which is yet another example of the typical attitude of the police in Borsod and Heves Counties: they fine local Roma for acts that are unnoticeable, and the punishment doesn’t nearly fit the crime, if they even committed a crime at all.

 In Szomolya, Joseph was riding his bike, properly equipped with a bike light when he bumped into the police. He went into a store, and while he was gone, someone stole his bike light. Immediately after this, the police identity checked him and fined him 25 thousand forints, because he was missing a bike light. He tried to tell them that they had already seen him with the light, but it was all in vain. Another time he was fined 10 thousand because one of his wheels was missing 2-3 spokes and his wheel was uneven. They tested to see if his bike light was working, shining it towards the sun, and the cops decided that it wasn’t working. All this added up to almost 100 thousand forints in fines. Joseph and his partner live off of 23 thousand forints (about 120 dollars), so it was impossible for him to pay the fine in one piece. He tried to arrange paying it off in chunks of 3-4 thousand but the local court wouldn’t have it, and instead they sentenced him to jail. Joseph spent a whole month in jail.

For English subtitles: start the video and click on the "cc" button!

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.

 

 

Megosztás

Kapcsolódó hírek

“He even kicked the bike”

We have presented similar stories on our blog many times. So it was not a one-time occurence, that’s for sure. At least not in Heves or Borsod county. What we’re talking about here, is that some policemen take pleasure in fining very poor people, who are mostly Romas, for breaking bicycle rules, all the time. Who they fine and how much they fine them for depends on the policeman’s discrimination and mood, rather than the bicycle laws. The man in this video lives in Eger.

'A poor man is pulled even by the branch of a tree'

I wonder how many cyclists are stopped in a wealthy neighborhood of a bigger city each year due to worn out tires, missing winter tires, missing reflector, or because of a disconnected brake cable? All of us who use such vehicles commit similar petty offenses. The lives of Borsod county’s (Hungary) Roma people – who live in poverty - are embittered by the police. They periodically give unnecessarily harsh fines of 10,20,30 thousand HUF (approximately 40,80,120 €).

The HCLU's movies shared a Special Award at the Hégető Honorka Prize ceremony

The aim of the Prize is to acknowledge television and online video works aimed at highlighting the problems of marginalised groups, and raising public and media awareness. It is a big honour for us to be awarded this prize in 2013.