Press release ETP Slovakia relating to the police intervention in the settlement Budulovská, Moldava nad Bodvou, Slovakia

ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development, a non-profit organization issues the following statement relating to the police intervention in the settlement Budulovská, in the town of Moldava nad Bodvou, which took place on Wednesday 19 June 2013. Based on available information on the extent and severity of wounds of inhabitants of the settlement, as well as property damage, there is a serious concern that excessive and inappropriate force may have been used by the Police. ETP Slovakia is requesting the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic to investigate this intervention.

On Saturday 15 June 2013, in settlement Budulovská, Moldava nad Bodvou, a final presentation of the results of a long-term project aiming to clean up the settlement took place. The project was a part of an educational program called RomaNet. This final event was organized by three men from Budulovská settlement, who have had long-term support for their activities by ETP Slovakia and Equity.

The event was attended by inhabitants of the settlement and invited guests, and included cultural and sporting activities. After the end of the official program at 5.30 pm, an informal celebration continued. Both the event and the follow-up celebration took place approximately 1,5 km from the town’s residential area. During the evening, a police patrol of the Municipal Police arrived (the organizers had invited the municipal police to the event), did not identify any problems and promised support should it be needed.

Around 11 pm), members of Slovak State Police Force arrived and requested the music volume to be turned down. This request was complied with. This patrol returned to the site again, in early morning hours, when the celebration had finished and the organizers were disassembling the equipment. One of the police officers assaulted a juvenile, Leonard H., referring to allegedly “unsettled matters from the past”. A skirmish ensued between the settlement inhabitants and the police officers, which included throwing rocks at the police vehicle resulting in a broken window. Two persons (juvenile Leonard H. and mentally disabled Ernest R.) were arrested and taken to the police station in Košice, where they were held until Wednesday 19 June 2013.

On the same Wednesday afternoon, around 5 pm, the Police Force arrived in the settlement Budulovská with approximately 20 vehicles (cca. 60 masked police force members). Without any announcement or communication with the inhabitants, they began searching the houses. The inhabitants of the settlement put up no resistance during this intervention, during which, more than 30 persons were injured. Several inhabitants had to seek medical attention and marks of being hit by police batons are visible even in small children. In addition, the police action caused significant damage to housing and property of the inhabitants (broken doors and windows, furniture, vehicle damage). Around 15 people were arrested and taken to the police station in Moldava nad Bodvou, where those arrested were further physically assaulted by the Police. Subsequently, the people were released without charge.

Based on all available information and personal inspection of the site of intervention – see attached photo documentation – there is a strong belief that the Slovak Police Force used inappropriate force during the intervention and thus may have breached relevant legal regulations.  ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development, who on a long-term basis and in cooperation with the municipality provides comprehensive social services in the settlement of Budulovská, Moldava nad Bodvou, will request the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic to conduct a formal investigation into the actions of the Police.

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