Rubber batons, handcuffs and dactyloscopy or “prophylactic” intimidation of Gypsies
The event that happened in a winter morning of this year disturbed all inhabitants of Gypsy district Radvanka of Uzhgorod. On 20 January, about 6 a.m., in Radvanka, where the Roma community lives, militiamen, accompanied by the special squad “Berkut” in masks and with rubber batons, appeared. They rushed in almost every house, where Gypsies lived, disturbing the sleeping families, knocked at doors and windows, and if they were not let in at once, they broke the doors. Rushing to the houses, they ordered the adult men to get dressed quickly and to get into the bus, which stayed near the houses. After the release from the militia station, the group of Gypsies turned to the all-Ukrainian human rights protecting Roma organization “Chachipe” (“True protection”).
Having listened the complaints of the Roma, which turned to the human rights protection center “Chachipe”, we, for our turn, resolved to turn to Oleksandr Latsko, the headmen of the encampment situated on Telman Street.
-- At daybreak I was awaken by Gipsy Olga Kosoru. The woman told that her husband Oleksandr and 15-years-old son Alik were detained by “Berkyt” officers, who unexpectedly rushed into their house, beat the men with batons, twisted their arms and threw them to the militia bus. About forty persons were detained together with them, even aged and ill people some militiamen, who took part in this raid, had wooden clubs.
I came to the bus and asked one of the officers about the reasons of these actions. The law-enforcer explained that this was a prophylactic raid. When I asked the “Berkut” officers to let go the aged Roma, they threatened that they would detain me too.
Besides, during the raid the militiamen took away a tape-recorder from one of the houses.
In the morning I went to the town militia station in order to clear up the reasons of detention of the Roma. There I again got the confirmation that this action was planned by law-enforcing organs. The men, who were released, told me that militiamen got their finger- and palm-prints, looked into their mouths and checked teeth, like with horses. The seized tape-recorder was not given back, the militiamen said that they would keep it until Monday.
- Mr. Latsko, what is your opinion about the events that happened on 20 January?
- This has been the greatest humiliation of Roma during the recent time; their human rights were trampled.
The militiamen spoke with me indecently, taking into account my age and social status; they did not want to listen to my advices. If they turned to me, as a headman, beforehand, it would be possible to prevent such brutal treatment of Roma.
To Head of the Zakarpatska Regional Department of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine
Militia colonel I. Proshkovskiy
Copies: to Head of the Uzhgorod town Department of the Ministry of Interior A. Zelinskiy
To prosecutor of Uzhgorod Mr. Tatsiun
From Head of the all-Ukrainian human rights protecting Roma organization “Chachipe” Aladar Adam
Respected colonel Proshkovskiy!
On behalf of Roma community of Uzhgorod is forced to turn to you with the request to investigate the situation that has arisen with the Roma population that lives in the micro-district Radvanka.
On 20 January 2005 Gypsies turned to our organization, who complained that on 20 January 2005, about 6 a.m. militiamen in masks had rushed into the houses of Roma, situated on Pogranichna, Telmana and Granitna streets, and, using brute physical force, without any explanations, made Roma to get into the bus and transported them to the Uzhgorod town militia station. When some detained asked militiamen about the reasons of such treatment, the latter started to beat Gypsies. As a result of these illegal actions of militia officers, some victims got physical injuries and their clothes were damaged.
After coming to the militia station fingerprints of the Roma were taken. They got no explanations and no documents were given to them for signing during this procedure. Yet, according to the Law of Ukraine “On militia”, militia officers have the right to “make photographs, audio and video records, dactylography of the persons, but only of those who are:
- detained on suspicion of commitment of a crime or for vagrancy;
- accused of commitment of a crime;
- taken into custody;
- put under administrative arrest.
So, there are only four grounds for making dactyloscopy, and every of this grounds must be formalized in compliance with proper procedure (resolution of the investigating officer, protocol, etc.) the same grounds are stipulated by item 1.5 of the instruction “On procedure of functioning of dactyloscopic registration at the expert service of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine” introduced by the Order of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine of 11 March 2003. Yet, no one of the Gypsies was “detained on the suspicion of commitment of a crime”, was not “taken into custody” and was not “accused of commitment of a crime”. So, the actions of militiamen were illegal, and no “operative necessity” could justify these actions.
Taking into account the deplorable fact that lately such cases became very frequent in Ukraine, we are forced to inform about such cases ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva, profile committee of the Supreme Council of Ukraine (G. Udovenko) and the European Center for protection of Romas rights (in Budapest).
Taking into consideration everything above-said, I am earnestly requesting for your urgent interference into the situation for preventing the violations of rights of the citizens of Roma nationality and for clarification of the reasons of the so-called “visit” of militiamen to Roma community accompanied with inflicting of bodily injuries.
20 January 2005
Head of the all-Ukrainian human rights protecting Roma organization “Chachipe”