Ill Treatment of Romanian Roma - Violation of Article 3

Ill Treatmen of Romanian Roma - Violation of Article 3 The applicants, Stela Gheorghiţă and Gheorghiţă Gabriel Alexe, are Romanian nationals of Roma origin, who were born in 1969 and 1997, and live in Făgăraș. The case concerned their complaint that they had been ill-treated by the police. Ms Gheorghiţă and Mr Alexe filed criminal complaints against five police officers, claiming that on 12 June 2012, in the course of their search for Ms Gheorghiţă’s son, the officers had entered her house and had struck her on the chest and legs, causing a fracture to her left leg. She and her husband had then been handcuffed and taken to the police headquarters. As to Mr Alexe, the police had restrained him and had tried to take away the mobile phone with which he had filmed the scene. They had also struck him.  The complaints were transmitted to the public prosecutor’s office at the Braşov Court of Appeal and a preliminary investigation was opened. Seven officers, including the five involved, were questioned by the public prosecutor, as were Ms Gheorghiţă and Mr Alexe. In a decision of 11 September 2012 the public prosecutor’s office issued a decision of discontinuance, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal. On the merits, the Court of Appeal found that it could not be concluded from the evidence in the file that Ms Gheorghiţă and Mr Alexe had been assaulted by the police officers as they had claimed. It took the view that Mr Alexe’s conduct had justified the reaction of the police. It considered that Ms Gheorghiţă’s injuries had been sustained while she was being restrained. According to the forensic medical certificate in the file, the fracture to her left leg was the result of a fall and not of blows inflicted by a third party. The Court of Appeal concluded that the investigation, even though it had remained at the preliminary stage, had been effective and comprehensive. Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Ms Gheorghiţă and Mr Alexe alleged that they had been victims of ill-treatment by State officials on 12 June 2012 during their arrest. Violation of Article 3 (investigation). Just satisfaction: EUR 7,500 to Ms Gheorghiţă and EUR 5,000 to Mr Alexe in respect of non-pecuniary damage Source: / Page 4


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