[editar plantilla]

Racist hate crime conviction in a case of anti-Roma aggression against a teenager [editar]

This is a strategic litigation brought by Fundación Secretariado Gitano.


Racist hate crime conviction in a case of anti-Roma aggression against a teenager

On 25 January, Castellón de la Plana Criminal Court No. 3 convicted a man of assault and battery of a minor with the aggravating circumstance of anti-Roma hatred and the woman who accompanied him, to whom the aggravating circumstance of racism has not been applied.

[In the photo, the victim today with the team that handled the case].

The facts date back to 31 August 2016, when the minor was with his cousin on the terrace of a bar. At one point they began to receive racist insults from a man who was sitting with a woman at one of the tables on the terrace. When the minor asked why he was insulting them, the man got up and hit him over the head with a bottle, while shouting at him: "g***y race must be exterminated", "get out of town", "I'm going to kill you", "I'm going to turn your cap upside down", etc. When the boy's mother went to her son and tried to cover his wound and help him, the man and the other accused continued to insult and threaten them. The young man was taken by ambulance to Sagunto hospital for head trauma with an incised-contuse wound in the left frontal region, cervicalgia and anxiety.

This anti-Roma aggression has had serious repercussions for the young man and his family, who have suffered fear, anxiety and insecurity, added to the stress of more than seven years of waiting for justice.

Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) reported these events to the Public Prosecutor's Office specialised in hate crimes and discrimination in Castellón for a crime of injury, in which the aggravating circumstance of art. 22.4 of the Criminal Code was present, as it was committed because the young man attacked was Roma (i.e. a hate crime). In addition, FSG decided to join the criminal proceedings as a popular accusation, as it was a serious and paradigmatic case of anti-Roma hate crime, in which the Public Prosecutor's Office also agreed with the FSG's criminal classification, since it also requested that the aggravating circumstance of racism be applied.

In the guilty verdict, which was notified to the parties yesterday, the mitigating factors of art. 21. 5th and 6th of the Criminal Code, of immediate reparation of the damage and undue delay, respectively, are appreciated. Thanks to these mitigating factors, the sentence finally imposed on both defendants will be two years, with their imprisonment suspended and conditional upon the payment of 3 150 euros in civil liability to the victim and, in the case of the main defendant, the completion of a course on the prevention of violent behaviour and another on equal treatment and non-discrimination and diversity.

The victim in this case, in which he was accompanied by FSG, acknowledged that "the important thing is that it serves to ensure that no other person suffers an aggression just for being Roma." Sara Gimenez, director general of FSG, pointed out that "after more than seven years of waiting, we can finally celebrate a conviction in this very serious case of antigypsyism, in which the crime of injury is recognised, applying the aggravating circumstance of racism and an adequate reparation for the family. Thus, justice has also been done for the Roma community as a whole because we know that these aggressions of extreme hatred towards the victims for belonging to a historically persecuted and discriminated population, also has an impact on the entire community. This case reinforces our strategic line of litigation, with which we aim to ensure that the courts give an adequate response, as has happened here, to cases of discrimination and antigypsyism."