(This report covers the period January-December 1997) There were reports that detainees were ill-treated by police officers. In February, five police officers arrested Z.Z. and eight others, including two minors, in the centre of Szombathely on suspicion of theft. Most of those arrested were Roma. The officers allegedly called the detainees "stinking Gypsies". One officer reportedly knocked Z.Z. to the ground, and pressed a gun against his head. Police officers reportedly continued to beat Z.Z., both on the way to the police station and during questioning, until he vomited blood and lost consciousness for a short period. Police officers reportedly threatened to beat the other detainees if they did not sign statements incriminating Z.Z. and, when they refused, officers allegedly assaulted two of them. All the detainees were released later the same day; Z.Z. received medical treatment for injuries he had suffered as a result of the ill-treatment. In May several police officers asked Monika Gölös and András Reichart to leave a public park in Budapest. When Monika Gölös complained that they were being addressed rudely, the officers reportedly sprayed them with tear-gas. They were then handcuffed, kicked and punched and taken to the First District Police Station for an identity check. They were held there for three hours and repeatedly beaten by police officers. In July in the ninth district of Budapest, two police officers stopped László Máté for an identity check. When he asked to be released, the police officers reportedly twisted his arms behind his back, handcuffed him, pushed him to the ground and then repeatedly beat and kicked him. Melinda Vári-Nagy, a friend of László Máté, asked the police officers to stop the beating. She was also handcuffed and the couple was taken to the Ninth District Police Station. László Máté was beaten in the police car by the officer sitting next to him. At the police station he was kicked and punched in the face causing him to lose consciousness for a short period. After his release he was admitted to a hospital for three days for treatment of injuries suffered as a result of ill-treatment. According to a medical certificate, Melinda Vári-Nagy sustained bruises on her thigh and around her wrists. In October, three representatives of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a non-governmental human rights organization, visiting the lock-up of the Sixth District Police Station in Budapest, saw two police officers beating a handcuffed man. The officers repeatedly punched the detainee on the head and, after pushing him to the ground, kicked him several times in the abdomen. Shortly afterwards, the human rights monitors observed four other officers push another detainee to the ground. A sergeant then stepped on his head. Both detainees were Ukrainian nationals who were released the following morning, but whose identity the police refused to disclose. Investigations into these reports of ill-treatment were initiated but their results were not known by the end of the year. In May and November Amnesty International urged the Chief Public Prosecutor to ensure that these investigations were carried out promptly and impartially, the results made public and those responsible brought to justice. In February Amnesty International received information from the Chief Public Prosecutor about investigations into incidents of police ill-treatment reported to the organization in 1996 (see Amnesty International Report 1997). Concerning the case of Hamodi Ahmed, an investigation against officer C.B. was dismissed because of lack of evidence. Another investigation in the same case against unknown police officers was also dismissed "as the identity of the offender could not be established". The official reply did not give substantial grounds for such decisions and although Amnesty International asked for full reports of the investigations into Hamodi Ahmed's complaint, these had not been received by the end of the year. In the case of István Nagy, the initial investigation was dismissed in December 1996. In January, following an appeal, the Chief Public Prosecutor ordered an additional investigation which was suspended in May because of lack of evidence and because "it was not possible to establish the identity of the perpetrator".

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