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

‘For whom is this worthwhile?’

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 fish was jumping by the fence

In Sátoraljaújhely, during the May 2010 floods, the local government transported sand to the Roma district only when the river began receding. Until then, they did not receive any aid.

„Let’s be honest: you just wanted to fine us.”

It seems that it isn’t just in Borsod County that it is typical for the police to disproportionately and selectively fine the Roma people. Our colleagues went to Eger, where the inhabitants of the Gypsy settlement (Verőszala street) told them that the police patrol around their residences daily, asking for identification and fining them for different made-up violations of rules of the road.