Police violence against Roma in Romania
On the 21st of March 2020, in the light of Corona Virus outbreak the Romanian Minister of Home Affairs issued a military ordinance. The ordinance states, among others that “travelling outside of one’s home is prohibited in “groups”, defined as any gathering of more than 3 individuals who do not live together” it also states that starting with 23 March 2020, 10 pm local time, travelling outside of one’s home between 10.00 pm and 6.00 am is permitted only for specific reasons and is subject to documentary justification e.g. certificate issued by the employer or an affidavit on own responsibility. With time , several such military ordinances were adopted. Following this, several cases of abuse from the Romanian authorities’ side- police forces, gendarmes, etc. towards the Roma took place across the country. The main pretext of police abuse was that Roma do not respect the emergency measures!
The specific case of Bolentin Vale has been reported in online media by Romea.cz Romanian chief of local police filmed beating handcuffed Romani men as they lie on the ground and Balkan Insight Video of Romanian Police Beating Roma Causes Outrage. Several Roma activists visited the affected community and talked to the victims and witnesses. Ciprian Necula says that “this racist abuse is revenge by the police, who objected to images that the men had shared on Facebook. They brutally entered, hitting and cursing, although these people did not pose a risk to the police.” Necula adds that “it is absolutely OK to have a good time in your own household. This is not a matter of law. These police officers must go to jail for abuse of office and racism.”
Marian Mandache (representing Romani Criss) wrote the following on Facebook:
“Pursuant to the preliminary documentation made by Romani CRISS and UCTRR, on April 18, 2020, the police from Giurgiu county intervened in the Roma community of Bolintin-Vale, to respond to a call made regarding a scandal between two families. During the intervention, the police beat up members of 4 other families. In total, Romani CRISS and UCTRR were able to identify a unmber of 8 Roma man and 1 child of 13 years-old. This video gives a brief presentation of the events and is a draft. The victims were taken out of their homes, handcuffed and put to lay down on the ground on their belly. The victims were tortured by the police officers for about half an hour, whilst they were on the ground, face-down and restrained. At least 6 police officers (including from the special forces) perpetrated such violence. One of the Roma men was restrained by two police officers whilst other two police officers were beating him with a stick to the soles of his feet and other police officers were beating him all over his body. The police threatened to shoot the Roma if the filed complaints for the abuse. The wife of one of the victims called the ambulance and when it arrived at the scene, the police let the Roma free and left. The beating was caught on camera in part (included in the beginning of this film), but the author is unknown. Following the release of the filming of the beating, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated a criminal investigation. Romani CRISS and UCTRR documented the case and contracted a human rights lawyer to assist the victims for the entire duration of the trial.”
Stop police abuse! Stop racism towards Roma! This type of abuse and masked racism from the authorities in times of hardship is unacceptable!