Thursday, August 6, 2009

OUTRAGE! Roma woman shot dead in Hungary. Fascists advocate similar violence in Slovakia.

The story's here from the Roma Rights Network:

A 45 year-old Roma woman was shot dead, her 13 year-old daughter severely wounded by unknown attackers in Kisléta during the night of Sunday/Monday. (Kisléta, with its 1 900-strong population, lies 60 km from Tiszalök and 30 km east from Nyíregyháza). Following the murder, Hungarian National Police High Commissioner József Bencze doubled the reward offered for information about the identity of the criminals involved in attacks against Roma, stated the Hungarian National Police. The 100 million Hungarian Forint reward is the highest in the history of Hungarian criminology (the reward was upped for the last time on April 25th by the High Commissioner, to 50 million Hungarian Forint). The National Investigation Office took over the investigation of the crime committed in Kisléta on Monday at dawn.

The woman was shot by pellet gun in one of the last houses of a street lying at the edge of the village. The bullets hit her on her chest, head and arm. Her daughter was wounded on the neck and arm and was transported to András Jósa Hospital in Nyíregyháza.

The 13 year-old girl’s condition has been stabilized and is satisfactory but serious and life-threatening, said Pál Felföldi, lead traumatologist. (…) Since there are no eyewitnesses in the case, police are watching over the girl outside the intensive care unit where she is currently treated, because she might be in possession of important information about the attackers.

There might have been two of them

The crime scene investigation, the gathering of evidence and the search for and questioning of eventual witnesses went on until early afternoon in Bocskai Street, at the edge of the village, behind which lies a corn field. A dirt road nearby leads towards Nyírbogát, which the attackers probably used for their escape.

According to the Hungarian Press Agency (MTI), shots were fired from two hunting guns on the family, meaning that there were at least two attackers. The police found cartridge cases coming from the pellet guns. They were given to the National Investigation Office experts for examination in Budapest.

According to the Hungarian Press Agency (MTI), the examination ascertained that similar firearms had been used in several attacks against Roma. According to the police, several details of the attack fit with the pattern of the successive attacks on Roma. This is why the investigation was taken over by the National Investigation Office, which opened an inquiry for murder attempted against several persons.

Three-four shots were heard

Mayor Sándor Pénzes told Index that the neighbors had heard three of four shots on Sunday between 11.30 p.m. and 12 p.m. The attacker or attackers kicked the entrance door in and started firing at once. The victims were found by family members. The girl has not yet been questioned as she is still in a state of shock. Her wounds are serious, she is currently in the intensive care unit, there is no precise information as to her condition.

According to Sándor Pénzes, relations between Hungarians and Roma in the village are very good. „The victim was a hard-working woman. She was raising her daughter alone, amidst clean and healthy conditions.” – said the mayor. Mária B. was a widow and had two daughters. The family works regularly and gets social welfare as well. „The whole village is astonished about this execution. We don’t know what could have motivated the murderers.” – said the mayor to the Hungarian Press Agency.

and here from Amnesty International USA:

A Romani woman was shot dead in the village of Kisléta in Eastern Hungary, early Monday morning (August 3, 2009). The 45-year-old woman's 13-year-old daughter was also seriously injured in the attack.

Initial police reports suggest that the incident is related to a series of attacks targeting Romani communities in Hungary. Amnesty International has voiced concern about the growing number of attacks against the Romani community in Hungary and the failure of the police to investigate effectively.

The organization said that it welcomed the decision that the killing and its apparent racial motive will be investigated by the Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation. The agency was established specifically to investigate serious crimes.

Between January 2008 and June 2009, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) documented 39 attacks against Roma and their property. Eight people have died in these attacks.

27-year-old Róbert Csorba and his five-year-old son were killed whilst fleeing their house which was set on fire in a suspected arson attack in Tatárszentgyörgy in February. Jenõ Kóka, a 54-year-old Romani man, was shot dead as he left his home to make his way to the nightshift in the local chemical factory where he worked in Tiszalök on 22 April.

Last November, a man and woman were shot after their house was petrol bombed in Nagycsécs, a village in north eastern Hungary. The increasing number of attacks against Romani individuals and their homes has created a climate of fear and intimidation.

"The Hungarian Government has firmly condemned the attacks against members of the Romani community," said Nicola Duckworth, Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme of Amnesty International. "This is a welcome move, but what is most urgently required is an effective police investigation.”

In the Tatárszentgyörgy case, the head of the local criminal department violated the rules of the investigation, according to a report issued by ERRC, the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI) and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ). (That report is available here in pdf.)

Amnesty International has voiced concern that there might be more cases of attacks that remain unreported and is urging the Hungarian authorities to take positive action to address underlying prejudices against the Romani community.

In its 2009 Report on Hungary, the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance noted that the "victims of such acts may often be reluctant to report the racist elements of violent offences against the person, whether owing to a sense of shame, due to fear of retribution, or because they feel it is unlikely that serious follow-up will be given to this aspect of a crime."

The report cited above had some very interesting information about February's murders in Tatárszentgyörgy. The medics who responded to the emergency call in that case found a wounded five-year-old child, but left the scene for 20 minutes before returning to treat him. He died. Local police who responded told the surviving family members that there had been no shooting; that the victims had been injured in an explosion accidentally started by a fire. When the family members later called the police back to the scene to point out shell cartridges on the ground near the house, the police accused them of planting the cartridges. The police continued to refuse to investigate the murders even after family members pointed out that buckshot had been found in the victims' clothing. It actually took the intervention of Viktória Mohácsi, a Member of the European Parliament, to get the police to secure the area and begin an investigation. If not for her intervention, the police would have continued to cover up the crime. Even after her intervention, police failed to interview numerous witnesses and made no attempt to trace a suspicious Mercedes Benz which had been parked outside the house before the attack.

With respect to Monday's murderous attack, according to new reports, forensics have determined that the gun used has been used in two previous attacks against Roma. (Read here.)
FBI agents are assisting with the investigation of the crime. (Read here.) The virulently anti-Roma militia Magyar Garda (associated with the fascist Jobbik party) are threatening to send a motorcycle gang to patrol the village, whose residents are all Roma. (Read here.) The proposal for biker gang patrols arose after the right-wing television channel Hir-TV and right-wing newspaper Magyar Hirlap reported the murders as being motivated by something other than racism, seemingly to shift blame to the Roma themselves. (A poorly translated incidence of this is available here. Magyar Hirlap baselessly claims in that piece that only a dark-skinned person could have passed unnoticed through the village to commit the crime. More accurate accounts are available here and here and here.)

Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai has called on the leadership of the national police to act to prevent further attacks on Roma. (Read here.) Details about what actions police will take to protect Roma are scanty. According to some reports (read here) a special police network will act as a task force to react to anti-Roma violence, presumably to prevent a replay of the sort of police cooperation with racist murderers evidenced in Tatárszentgyörgy.

Meanwhile, gangs of skinheads associated with the fascist Jobbik party have been coducting rallies featuring heavy metal concerts in and around Budapest. These gangs, clad in shirts bearing the slogan"White Hungary", have beaten up a number of Roma, including a pregnant woman and a young boy, and chanting that they will "kill every Roma in Hungary". (Read here.)

Meanwhile, over the border in Slovakia, the fascist party called Slovenská pospolitosť (Slovak Brotherhood) is following the example of Jobbik and attempting to mobilize anti-Roma violence there as well. (Read here for an example of this.) Local human rights groups are calling for authorities to to ban the Slovenská pospolitosť to prevent anti-Roma violence from taking root . (Read here and here and here.) Prime Minister Robert Fico responded yesterday that he will have the Interior Ministry move to have the group banned. (Read here.)

250441_import-marian-kotleba-slovenska-pospolitost-slovenska-pospolitost-crop.jpg (480×320)

Slovenská pospolitosť fascist militia

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