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Nine Roma convicted for hate-crime

May 11th, 2013

After a group of Gypsies attacking far-right anti-Roma protesters were found guilty of hate-crime, the leading left liberal daily accuses the Hungarian courts of discriminating against the Roma.

In November 2009, nine Roma men attacked a car whose passengers were sympathizers of the Hungarian Guard, a banned paramilitary group that held an anti-Gypsy march in the town of Sajóbábony. They were shouting ’Death to you, damned Hungarians’. In the attack, two of the radical Hungarian victims suffered minor injuries. The Miskolc Municipal Court sentenced the nine Roma to a total of 27 years in prison, ruling that the violence was directed against the passengers, not their car, and the reason was their Hungarian identity. The case is under appeal.

According to human right watchdogs, most hate-crime incidents go unpunished in Hungary. Unless the culprits are Roma,” Népszabadság comments on the ruling in a front page editorial. The leading left-wing daily finds it ironic that the violent act of Roma attacking racist demonstrators should be deemed a crime motivated by racist hatred. Népszabadság remarks that on average, there are around a dozen hate-crime related trials per year, while in Sweden, for instance, five thousand cases are reported yearly. Roma complaints, the daily continues, are regularly archived by the police. Echoing the opinion of a human right watchdog organisation, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), Népszabadság suggests that the Hungarian courts are discriminating against the Roma.

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