Romas Sentenced for Hate Crime Against Hungarians

The attack by the Roma defendants did not take place because those riding in the car were Hungarians, but because they were presumed to be extremists on the prowl, however, the court still ordered prison sentences for committing hate crime. It is the HCLU’s opinion that the court once again misinterpreted and erroneously applied laws on hate crime.

In its judgment on last Tuesday, the Miskolc City Court imposed 34 years of imprisonment in the case of Romas, who attacked a car near their residence, 3 weeks after the racially motivated massacres in Tatárszentgyörgy, where a child and his father were murdered. The occupants of the car - one of whom had proven ties to skinheads - suffered minor injuries. According to their testimonies, the reason for cruising the Roma row at 1:30am with a canister containing gas oil was to look for an all-night shop.

According to the court’s verdict, there is evidence that the crimes were committed by the Roma with prejudiced motives against Hungarians. Firstly, a stick with the words “death to Hungarians” written on it. The text is unreadable from three steps away, and there is no evidence that anyone used it. Secondly, the testimony of one of the defendants, who alone claimed to have heard someone shouting an anti-Hungarian slogan. This testimony, which was the result of police abuse, was later revoked by the defendant during the court hearing.

In the autumn of 2010, the Borsod-Abaúj County Court repealed the first instance court decision due to structural and procedural failures and it also found the judgement to be unfounded and ordered the court to conduct a new procedure. The new first instance procedure ended with a verdict of imprisonment for all defendants accused of ‘violence against a member of the community’. The verdict is not final, all defendants have appealed the decision.

The current verdict of imprisonment - which is only less by a few years compared to the previous verdict – suggests disproportionately severe penalties. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union believes the offense was misclassified, since the classification of an act as ‘violence against a member of the community’ requires the crime to be motivated by prejudice against a group. In case of an attack on a suspiciously slow moving vehicle with tinted windows at night on the Roma row during the time of the racially motivated serial murders against Roma raises doubts whether the judiciary are clear on the intentions of special regulations on hate crime. The verdict further strengthens social prejudice against the Roma community, while bias motivated acts against the Roma rarely end in indictment or conviction in Hungary.


Kapcsolódó hírek

Civil Guard Association For a Better Future: We are not patrolling but observing

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 found here.

A heavy stone was flung

Even one month after the end of the patrol action of the Civil Guard Association for a Better Future, a right-wing paramilitary group, there still isn’t peace in Gyöngyöspata.

Sajóbábony through the eyes of a Gypsy man

There was a clash in Sajóbábony on November 15, 2009, between Roma people and people wearing the uniform of the disbanded Hungarian Guard. In this video we can learn about the events from the point of view of a local Roma young man.