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Hate crime: erring policemen and erring terrorists

by DoDo Sat Sep 26th, 2009 at 01:59:34 PM EST

originally published on 26 August 2009

In Hate crime: cell phones and arrests, I reported the arrest of four men for a series of nine terror attacks against Roma, in four of which six people died.

Here I bring some updates, focusing on a single case: one which police thought they solved long ago... but which they now identified as the fourth attack of the terrorists.

In the night to 29 September 2008, shots were fired and Molotov cocktails were thrown at four homes on the edge of the village of Tarnabod. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However,

  • the attackers erred: the inhabitants were poor but they weren't Gypsies;
  • police erred, too: they arrested three local Roma youths, and held them on remand for 11 months -- and released them only now.

Diary rescue by Migeru


All the evidence against the three, who are alleged local rowdies, was a claim by a local that he saw one of them with a sawn-off shotgun.

The three innocents say they were treated like dirt by police and prison inmates, and to add insult to injury, all of them were released only after the terror cell was busted, one of them with a day's delay for a bureaucratic reason. Now they are suing for 10 million Forints (c. €37,000) each in damages and an apology from police.

:: :: :: :: ::

As for the capture of the apparent real culprits. In the course of what they disgustingly termed "the end of a success story for police" (disgusting both considering the victims, and events like authorities treating one of the deadly attacks as a normal fire for half a day),

  • Police confirmed the DNA match of two perpetrators (according to newspapers, the ex-drummer and the harcore Neo-Nazi who are brothers) with hair and partial fingerprints found at multiple sites -- they are suspected to have participated in all nine attacks.

  • The younger of the two brothers, the hardcore Neo-Nazi, was identified with a commenter on multiple political web forums with the nick "Bone robber", who advocated the extermination of Roma.

  • According to a newspaper, the search for three more accomplices (in some of the attacks or in logistics) known by name is still on.

  • Police denied the claim in a tabloid that they had a crown witness. (In fact they earlier declared that the 100 million Forints announced for valuable information won't be paid out.)

  • Police was proud to have arrested several unrelated poachers and black-market arms dealers thanks to the information they received in this case. Ironically, they also said (I'm not making this up or quoting "M") that "even the criminal underworld tried to help and looked for the potential perpetrators".

:: :: :: :: ::

As for the insanity not ending here, events last night:

  • A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the courtyard of a home in the town of Törökszentmiklós, locals say that it is probably related to teenage rowdies who were told to go away earlier that day; while the owner says that "Death to Hungarians!" was written on the pavement.

  • Related to the parallel worsening of Slovakian-Hungarian relations, an as yet unidentified man threw Molotov cocktails at the Slovakian Embassy in Budapest.

Display:
The Tarnabod example of police nabbing the wrong suspects justifies my doubts about police's solution of a fifth deadly attack. That was last December, and two died. Police arrested two neighbours, one of them an ex-policeman, with anger over a dog as the suspected motivation. But whether the arrested are the real culprits or not, that attack does seem uncharacteristic of the now arrested gang: a grenade was used, it was too far for their operating radius, and there was no highway nearby for quick escape.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 26th, 2009 at 01:47:25 PM EST
I see Sassafras and dvx reported on this worsening of relations in which now the EU is called upon to intervene. I can't find much enthusiasm to write about this clusterfuck -- but if someone wants more details than in the Spiegel English article quoted by dvx, I'd try.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 03:34:56 AM EST
Spiegel:
Tensions between the two groups have been exacerbated recently by language regulations, a dispute regarding geographical names in a school textbook and the harsh anti-Hungarian rhetoric of Jan Slota, the chair of the right-wing Slovak National Party (SNS), which is part of Fico's coalition government. ("The Hungarians are a cancer in the body of the Slovak nation," Slota is quoted as saying.)

Do you think this will blow over or do you see a worsening situation?

by rz on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 06:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Both the European Union and the Council of Europe should get involved here...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 06:31:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean to ask whether things will get (even) worse slowly or at one point drastically? If yes, then I vote for slowly.

Note that the worsening described in that sentence you quoted refers to events spanning a year, which were the latest big rows in a turn for the worse 'progressing' for three years now. (I wrote a rather longish, rather depressive, and not much read account of events until last December in The Slovakian-Hungarian Football War.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 09:02:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, your long diary is most enlightening.
by rz on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 09:30:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your diary is really excellent. Maybe now that the whole issue has become even worse and the rest of Europe becomes slowly aware of what is happening, it should be posted again.
by rz on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 09:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would need another 2,000 words for what happened in the last nine months...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Hate crime: erring policemen and erring terrorists
Police confirmed the DNSDNA match of two perpetrators (according to newspapers, the ex-drummer and the harcore Neo-Nazi who are brothers) with hair and partial fingerprints found at multiple sites
Hilarious typo, now corrected.

Could this be the basis for a cyberpunk atory line, where DNS records are matched to DNA samples?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 06:53:46 AM EST
Thanks for spotting, it's a HungaroGermanism on my part. 'A' in the English "DNA" stands for "acid", which is "sav" in Hungarian and "Säure" in German, thus deoxyribonucleic acid is abbreviated "DNS" in both languages.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 08:31:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Hate crime: erring policemen and erring terrorists
the hardcore Neo-Nazi, was identified with a commenter on multiple political web forums with the nick "Bone robber"
Have there been graveyard desecration incidents that might be connected?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 06:55:12 AM EST
He's been a neo-Nazi for 15 years at least, and there have been several Jewish cemetery desecrations over that timespan. (Plus the desecration of former 'Communist' leader János Kádár's grave a few years back.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 08:55:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A brief update: it was revealed that the hardcore Neo-Nazi was observed by secret services from 2004 to 2008... until two months before the first attack. But, apparently, nothing conclusive was found...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 03:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Hate crime: erring policemen and erring terrorists
crown witness
Isn't that a Britishism? A more neutral term might simple be witness for the prosecution (in Spanish: testigo de cargo). What is the Hungarian term?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 07:00:11 AM EST
I thought it is a pretty standard term in several languages (but not German) with the general meaning "witness giving testimony key to the case", used usually for an accomplice hoping for leniency for himself for giving up the others. But, while I find several English-language web pages (including Wikipedia) where it is used with that meaning, curiously it is missing from dictionaries. (In Hungarian, that would be koronatanú, a literal translation.) I defer to native English speakers on best usage.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 08:53:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kronzeuge exists in German as well.
by rz on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 09:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant Spanish... (and may be wrong about that; but I only found "testigo principal" in Migeru's mother tongue)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Testigo de cargo is the proper term, I believe.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's rather "witness for the prosecution", aint't it? (Zeuge der Anklage resp. a vád tanúja in my other languages)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the prosecution is called the Crown in the British Commonwealth. Which is why "Crown Witness" cannot be the correct term in US English. Which is why I called it a Britishism.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which claim I confronted by claiming that "crown witness" is a term used with a broader meaning than its historical origin in several languages including English, but native English speakers should tell how widespread its use is; and with that we came full circle.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 10:46:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You said it: key witness, for general use.  

No claim of nativ-ity, though.  (;

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 03:57:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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