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Presidential administration head apologizes to Roma over police violence

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Minsk-Novosti

Head of Belarus President’s Administration Natallia Kachanava on 23 May was in the city of Mahilou to meet with the local Roma community leaders. The visit was made at the request of President Lukashenka, reports BELTA.

Kachanava offered apologies to the Roma community over the excessive force possibly deployed by the police during the raids on Roma when searching for the murderers of a local traffic police inspector at the end of the last week.

Road police inspector Yauhen Patapovich from Mahilou died on 16 May. died on 16 May. The initial lead was that he had been abducted by three Roma men in a black car with the Russian number plates. During the night of 17 May, the police raided Roma houses in Mahilou and other cities and detained Roma men for interrogations. Many of the detainees later complained about abuse and beatings. The further investigation showed that no Roma men had been connected to the officer’s death. According to the Investigative Committee, the road inspector committed suicide and before doing so had attempted to stage his death as murder in order to facilitate assistance packages for his family.

Earlier today, Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich said in response to the question from the Euroradio correspondent in the House of Representatives that he had “nothing to offer apologies to Roma for."