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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 18:06 UK

Slovak police accused of abuse

By Rob Cameron
BBC News

A group of Slovak police officers is facing a criminal investigation after allegedly forcing six young Roma boys to hit each other and strip naked.

It is claimed the boys were made to slap and punch each other in the face as an officer recorded the abuse on his mobile phone and the others stood by.

The incident has caused uproar in Slovakia after footage of the incident was published on a news website.

Nine policemen have now been suspended and could face prison sentences.

The incident occurred in March, in the eastern city of Kosice, when police were called to the scene of a mugging.

The alleged culprits - six young boys - were forced to hit each other, and later footage shows them being ordered to strip naked and kiss.

The film was subsequently leaked to Slovak daily newspaper SME.

The incident is particularly sensitive in Slovakia because all of the boys are members of the Roma or gypsy minority, many of whom live in virtual shanty towns in the east of the country.



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