Court finds that Hungarian authorities’ cover-up of a violent police interrogation violated European Convention on Human Rights

10th November 2017: The European Court of Human Rights has determined that the Hungarian authorities violated the fundamental human rights of a Roma man by covering up a coercive police interrogation.

The victim, a client of SRT grantee the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), was arrested and taken to a police station in 2010. On his release, he filed charges against the Hungarian authorities claiming that during the 12 hours of his arrest and interrogation he was assaulted and humiliated by six police officers and two security guards in order to coerce a plea agreement. The officers allegedly told the man that they ‘do not even care if you drop dead. At least there will be one less Gypsy.’

A few hours after his release from police custody, the man was hospitalised. According to clinical evidence from the hospital, he sustained injuries to the skull, nose, shoulder, hip, arm, hand and thigh. An investigation based on his allegations was terminated by the prosecutor’s office, which maintained that it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that the assault had, in fact, been committed by the suspects.

Assisted by the HCLU, the injured party applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), claiming a violation of the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and the principle of non-discrimination. Former SRT grantee the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) intervened in the case, requesting that the Court take into account the existence of institutional racism in the country.

The ECtHR’s judgment held that the Hungarian government had failed to refute the plaintiff’s claim that his injuries had been caused at the police station. The court also ruled that the investigation conducted by the Hungarian authorities had not been effective, nor had it involved an examination of the potential racist motives of the abuse.

Full story from HCLU’s website:

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