7 Aug 2013

Roma killers found guilty

5:33 am on 7 August 2013

A court in Hungary has found four men guilty of killing six Roma (Gypsy) people on a spree in villages in north-eastern Hungary in 2008 and 2009.

Guns, grenades and petrol bombs were used in nine separate incidents.

The BBC reports the killings shocked Hungary and the police were accused of blunders.

Life sentences of life in prison were imposed on three of the killers: Arpad Kiss, Istvan Kiss and Zsolt Peto. A fourth defendant, Istvan Csontos, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He had co-operated with the police.

All four had pleaded not guilty to murder.

The prosecution said their plan was to incite ethnic conflict.

A BBC correspondent reports that critics consider the trial focused too much on the details and not enough on the men's motives, thus missing an opportunity to examine tensions between Roma and ethnic Hungarians.

Roma make up about 7% of the population of Hungary (10 million), many live on the margins of society.