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Czech police marking refugees directly on their skin

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By Adrian Lancashire  with Reuters, AFP
Czech police marking refugees directly on their skin

Officials in the Czech Republic are facing an outcry from human rights activists over their police writing on refugees’ arms.

The refugees were travelling by train from Austria and Hungary when stopped by officers in the town of Breclav. They wrote the names and train numbers on 214 people, mostly from Syria, all of whom had valid tickets.

A police spokeswoman said refugees previously had been given numbers on a piece of paper, “but they kept throwing them away”.

A lawyer in Prague questioned whether the refugees had given permission to be written on.

The Czech government has committed to taking in 1,500 refugees if it can vet each applicant.

Breclav Mayor Pavek Dominik said it was bad news to him having to host 300 immigrants in a camp, but that that was preferable to having “these people walk around freely in Breclav, disturbing the peace”.

Critics of using marker pens on refugees said it resembled Nazi Germany’s treatment of concentration-camp prisoners.