Police Fine Homeless Man for Violating Covid Curfew, Case to Be Reviewed

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Homeless people in Bratislava during the coronavirus pandemic. (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 16 (TASR) – Following public outcry, the police announced on Tuesday that they will review a fine imposed recently on a homeless man in Bratislava for violating a curfew declared by the Government throughout Slovakia between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. in force each day for months now.

The homeless man was fined by a police patrol on Groesslingova Street in the centre of Bratislava after he was unable to demonstrate that he was subject to an exemption from the curfew. “This is why a fine amounting to €100 was imposed on the man. The person in question agreed both with the fine and the amount, as confirmed by his signature on a relevant document,” Bratislava regional police spokesman Michal Szeiff told TASR.

Civic association Vagus, which provides assistance to homeless people in Bratislava, drew attention to the case, noting that the man living on the street in Bratislava for years has his official residence in Slovenska Lupca (Banska Bystrica region).

“He was found to have violated the ban on entering a different district than one’s own. This absurd situation happened at a time when people are allowed to go to the countryside and shops. This man was stopped by the police on the street for a random identity check,” said Vagus, adding that the police took little regard to the fact that the man was homeless.

“The gentleman was wearing a respirator and he had a medical certificate of having recovered from COVID-19,” noted Vagus, adding that social services in Slovakia are unable to shelter around 23,000 homeless people during the lockdown.

Parliamentary social committee chair Jana Zitnanska (For the People) commented on the case as being “unbelievable” and announced that she’ll approach Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OLANO) to ask him to tell the police not to fine homeless people for being outside during the daily curfew.

When approached by TASR, the Interior Ministry said that all questions concerning the case should be directed to the regional police directorate in Bratislava.