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Interior minister vows to tackle racist crime

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.05.2013 12:02
Interior minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz has pledged to treat the north eastern city of Bialystok as “a training ground” for combating racism, after a series of hate crimes there.

Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz (C) in Bialystok on Friday at a ceremony honoring border guards: photo PAP/Artur Reszko

“In my opinion the situation has got so bad there that we have to treat it as a training ground,” he told the Krytyka Polityczna web site.

“We are preparing a programme with the Minister of Administration,” he affirmed, adding that the regional governor will also be working with local authorities.

In recent weeks, a mixed Polish and Indian couple and two Chechen families came under attack in separate incidents at a housing estate in the city.

Unidentified assailants set the flats of the families alight by nightfall.

In the wake of the third crime, Sienkiewicz said that the perpetrators were “moral degenerates”, adding that “as far as skinhead circles are concerned – we're coming after you.”

Sienkiewicz told Krytyka Polityczna that he made such comments “so that the perpetrators of racist violence start to be afraid, and not the victims, as unfortunately, it's the latter scenario that we have in Bialystok at the moment.”

The minister has appointed a special team to find the perpetrators of the crimes.

The search will see cooperation between the Internal Security Agency (ABW) and local police. A reward of 10,000 zloty (2400 euro) has been set up for information that might lead to the capture of the assailant.

Meanwhile, echoing a pledge by the mayor of Bialystok, Tadeusz Truskolaski, plans are afoot to introduce social, educational programmes to combat racism.

The Bialystok region has witnessed many highly publicised racist incidents over the last two years, including an arson attack on a Muslim Cultural Centre, vandalism of Jewish graveyards and monuments, and the defacement of 28 Lithuanian road signs (there is a significant Lithuanian minority in the region). (nh)

tags: bialystok, racism
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