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HFHR intervenes in racist assault case

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has contacted the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Opole, drawing the Office’s attention to a case that involved a violent assault against a woman accompanied by Indian men. Three unidentified males had reportedly offered offensive, racist comments while talking to the Indians. The woman was reportedly accosted and then punched in the face, knocked over and kicked in the abdomen.

“Commenting on cases of hate crimes (…) the ECtHR has reiterated many times that the prohibition of discrimination under Article 14 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms express the basic values in the contemporary Europe’s multicultural societies and the eradication of Nazism has become a priority of all state parties to the Convention”, reads the HFHR’s letter to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“In our letter, we asked the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Opole to verify whether the case involves a suspicion of a hate crime based on national and ethnic differences. We think that the prosecution should follow a line of inquiry that the woman herself was a victim of a hate crime: after all, she was attacked because she was in the company of foreigners”, Adam Klepczyński, a lawyer working with the HFHR, points out.

“According to international standards, hate crimes may be committed not only against persons of a different nationality or those with a protected characteristic. A person considered a member of a minority by a perpetrator or persons having contacts with minority members may also become a victim of a hate crime. Being in the company of foreigners and talking to them can be considered an example of the latter”, HFHR lawyer Jarosław Jagura explains.

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