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Racist offence overlooked

August 25th, 2011

A left wing commentator is outraged by the decision of a prosecutor to drop all charges levelled against a policeman for joining a group of men who beat up a young Gypsy in a pub.

Writing in Népszabadság, Dóra Ónody-Molnár invites the reader to imagine what would happen in the United States if a white police sergeant posted a note on Facebook letting everyone know how he put down his drink to help a few compatriots who were having trouble getting a young Afro-American to the ground, and how he helped them finish the job,   kicking the victim’s head several times into the bargain. While in the Untied States, the author writes, she cannot believe her imaginary policeman would get away unpunished, his very real Hungarian colleague did.

In his ruling, delivered in the Southern Hungarian town of Szeged, the prosecutor argued that the policeman’s own description of the case (“I was kicking the head of that Gypsy on the ground”) was not sufficient evidence of a criminal offence. Nothing proves that he was actually describing events as they really happened. The sergeant told the prosecutor he had in fact merely been boasting in his Facebook post.

Ónody-Molnár points out that all prison inmates suspected of or convicted of racist offences in Hungary are Roma. The commentator admits that the Hungarian population has many complaints and harbours many grudges against certain Gypsies, for noisy behaviour in public places for example, or the theft of produce from their fields. But nobody accuses them in the process of acting on the racist grounds of being ‘anti-Hungarian’.

Népszabadság’s commentator suspects the authorities of racial prejudice and criticises the Minister of the Interior Sándor Pintér for not taking a stand in public. Even if nothing had happened in that Szeged pub, the officer’s racist inclinations, clearly expressed in his post on Facebook, would fully justify a statement from his superiors.

In a comment on the newspaper’s website, a reader recalls that the author had reported herself about a “Gypsy-beating group” having been sentenced to two and a half years in jail at Szigetvár, Southern Hungary last year: they must still be serving that sentence. The serial killers who murdered six innocent Gypsies in random night raids are also behind bars, awaiting their sentence.

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