The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Hungary in a first-instance ruling for failing to adequately investigate into a racist attack. The lawsuit against the Hungarian state was launched by a 23-year-old Hungarian citizen of Roma background after the Hungarian prosecution service dropped proceedings for vioence against a member of a community and sentenced the perpetrator for truculence, the state news agency MTI reports.
The man and his girlfriend were attacked by a group of three people at a night club in the southern city of Szeged back in January 2011 when a man identifying himself as a policeman intervened. The man, who was later revealed to be an employee of the prison service, verbally abused the man before police arriving to the scene broke up the fight.
Although the victim enclosed content uploaded by the attacker to social media, including him boasting of attacking a Roma lying on the ground the previous night, Hungarian prosecutors only sentenced the perpetrator to a suspended 1-year jail term for truculence and did not launch proceedings for racist violence.
The attacked Roma man turned to the Strasbourg court because he believed that Hungarian authorities failed to conduct an efficient inquiry into the case and did not carry out all necessary measures to establish the racist nature of the attack. Handing out a first-instance ruling, the court awarded EUR 10 000 (approximately HUF 3m) in reparations to the Szeged man for conduct in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Both him and the Hungarian state now have two months to make an appeal.
photo: John Edward Linden/Rex Features