Hungarians found guilty in Roma case


Four Hungarian men have been found guilty of killing six Roma people and injuring several others in a spree of racially-motivated attacks on the persecuted minority.

The court sentenced on Tuesday three of the men to life in prison without parole, while the fourth, an accomplice, was given a 13-year jail sentence also without parole.

Over a 14-month period starting in July 2008, a total of six Roma were killed and five others were wounded in attacks that were carefully planned and carried out by the convicts across the country, using grenades, guns and Molotov cocktails.

In one of the attacks in February 2009, several men set fire to a house close to the village of Tatarzentgyorgy outside of Budapest.

When the residents fled the burning house, the assailants shot dead Robert Csorba, 29, and his 4-year-old son Robert Junior as well as wounded a girl.

Roma advocates say police reports showed that officers had been slow in investigating the attack.

Robert’s mother said prior to the verdict that she had no faith that the verdicts would deliver full justice, bring safety or ease tension between Roma and other Hungarians.

She added, “It might be harder for us because of all the heartache that made us numb to life, but we can’t seem to get out of this racism, this poverty.”

The Roma community, which makes up seven percent of the Hungarian population, is plagued by high unemployment and poverty and is often subjected to verbal and physical abuse.

In January, a prominent journalist Zsolt Bayer referred to Roma as “animals” who “shouldn’t be tolerated” and “should not exist.” His newspaper was later fined for the remarks.

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