Human Rights Committee to Discuss Boy Dragged from Classroom

(from left to right) MPs Natalia Blahova (SaS), Erika Jurinova (OLaNO-NOVA) and Parliamentary Vice-chair Lucia Nicholsonova (SaS) at a press conference in Bratislava (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, May 18 (TASR) – The case of a seven-year-old boy named Marco from the village of Brehy (Banska Bystrica region) who was dragged from a classroom by a judicial officer will be dealt with at an extraordinary session of the parliamentary human rights committee, TASR learnt on Wednesday.

Committee chairperson Erika Jurinova (OLaNO-NOVA) and committee members Natalia Blahova (SaS) and Martina Simkovicova (We Are Family-Boris Kollar) called for the session.
The officer acted in line with a court decision that granted custody of the boy to his mother. The boy had been in the care of his grandmother until that point.

The committee is set to examine whether the removal from school was lawful. The Opposition has also invited Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) and Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Minister Jan Richter (Smer-SD). “They should explain the behaviour of the officers [the aforementioned judicial officer plus others] and tell us how to deal with the situation. It’s obvious that there are more such cases,” said Jurinova, adding that the child’s interests should be put first.

Blahova said that the officers acted in a Gestapo-like manner. “Where was the right of a child to be heard? The authorities should ask children about their opinions, as they can often decide on their lives themselves,” stated Blahova, adding that not only the law but also the rights of a child were violated. Blahova has also asked Ombudswoman Jana Dubovcova to take a closer look at this case.

Parliamentary Vice-chair Lucia Nicholsonova (SaS) is convinced that Children’s Ombudswoman Viera Tomanova should have convened a press conference immediately after the incident happened in order to demand an explanation.

“It was meaningless and unacceptable. It’s time to prevent these cases from happening,” said blogger Monika Kozelova, who brought the case to light. It isn’t known where the boy is currently, but locations such as Switzerland and the Czech Republic are being mentioned.

The dragging of a boy from a classroom by a judicial officer in front of his classmates and teacher, which took place last week in the village of Brehy (Banska Bystrica region), is unacceptable, said Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska (Most-Hid) on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

“The court’s decision is one thing, the way in which it’s carried out is another. It mustn’t be done without any empathy towards the child. I expect the court chairperson to take responsibility,” wrote Zitnanska, adding that this case is a sign that it’s essential to educate court employees in how to act in such sensitive cases. “The Justice Ministry is prepared to do everything in its power,” she added.

Dennik N daily reported that the Prosecutor-General’s (GP) Office has already launched an investigation into the matter. “[GP] First Deputy Rene Vanek has already commissioned the regional prosecutor in Banska Bystrica with the task of examining this matter and adopting relevant measures,” said the office’s spokesperson Andrea Predajnova.

The daily wrote that Marco’s grandmother was granted temporary custody by a district court, but this was later revoked by a regional court. The mother subsequently asked the court to act on its decision and to remove Marco from the care of his grandmother.