Thursday, January 14, 2010
NEWS FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Workers’ Party promoters terrorizing Roma family
Mikulov, 29.12.2009, 12:12, (ROMEA)
The family of Ilona Vajdíková of Mikulov is being constantly terrorized by local promoters of the Workers’ Party. The attacks began this September and have yet to let up. Mayor of Mikulov Rostislav Koštial says Ilona Vajdíková‘s family has caused no problems to anyone.
Ms Vajdíková has the bad luck to live across from the Zanzibar restaurant, where local Workers’ Party promoters hold their regular meetings. On 19 September, they threw a beer glass at her window and broke it while shouting racist insults such as, “You black whore, to the gas with you!” The main assailant was Josef Kordiovský, who yelled, “Look what I’m gonna do to these Gypsies” while throwing the glass. He was later heard bragging at the U Fajka restaurant that he had “broken the Gypsies’ window”. The racists returned to the Zanzibar after the incident.
A neighbor who heard the incident ran out of his home in order to protect Ms Vajdíková. “His testimony is constantly being called into question. He’s not Roma - why would he make such a thing up?” asks Marcela Krištofová, Ilona Vajdíková’s sister. “Ilona ran right into that bar and started yelling ‘Who did it?’ Kordiovský stood up and yelled ‘Black whore’ at her. She left the bar, because there were a lot of those teenagers in there, and she called the town police.” Krištofová says the neighborhood was quiet until about a year ago, when the Zanzibar was purchased by its current owner.
Vajdíková recognized Josef Kordiovský and Petr Peřina among the assailants - Peřina shouted racist slogans and participated in a subsequent incident – as well as Roman Pohludka, Jan Krejčí, and men with the surnames Tužinčin and Dalajka. At the very least, some of these people are either promoters or members of the Workers’ Party. For example, both Petr Peřina and Roman Pohludka are registered on Facebook in the Workers’ Party Mikulov group, and Krištofová says Peřina has confessed to police officers that he is a member of the Workers’ Party in Brno. Josef Kordiovský actively contributes to the Facebook page of the Workers’ Party in Znojmo, including information and photographs from several Workers’ Party events and gatherings, such as the 1 May 2009 demonstration in Brno. Petr Peřina also confirmed his membership in the Workers’ Party directly to Marcela Krištofová. “We ran into each other the next day on the street and he greeted me, saying ‘Hi, Auntie,’ - I have known him since he was a little boy,” she says. “I said to him: ‘Do you think you can get away with this? Yesterday evening you were giving the Nazi salute here and now you are saying ‘Hi, Auntie’ to me?”
Another attack occurred one week later when a group ran out of the restaurant and headed for the small house in which Ms Vajdíková’s family lives, throwing bottles and glasses and repeating racist epithets, such as “Come out of there you black cunt.” The entire event was accompanied by a song on the bar’s jukebox, “Bílá liga, bílá síla” (White League, White Power) by Daniel Landa and the Orlík band. One week after that, Workers’ Party promoters from nearby towns met at the restaurant, giving the Nazi salute, pointing to the Roma family’s flat and yelling “you have to go that way.” “These were not youngsters, they were about 30 – 40 years old,” Krištofová says.
Since then, various provocations have continued in the same spirit in an effort to bully the family as much as possible. “They shout racist swear words, they throw glasses, their cars race around beneath our windows for as much a half an hour at a time. Last week they upset a garbage container and emptied it all over the road,” Marcela Krištofová says.
The police and state prosecutor have been unabashedly accommodating towards the racist assailants in this matter. Police are refusing to release information about the case; for the time being Kordiovský is the only one to have been charged over the constant terrorizing of the Roma family, and that merely for the crime of rioting (for throwing the glass at the window). Persecution motivated by racial hatred, racist epithets and insults, the assailants’ membership in the Workers’ Party and participation in its events – it seems all of this means nothing to the police and state prosecutor. When officials informed Vajdíková that charges were being filed against Kordiovský for the crime of rioting, she was very surprised, as no deposition had ever taken from her, either as a witness or as a victim.
With the assistance of the In Iustitia association, which collaborates with Romea on a project providing legal aid to people who are discriminated against, the victim has filed her own charges. “The verbal speech is clearly captured on the video recording which the plaintiff turned over to the police for the purposes of the criminal proceedings, and shows she had grounds to believe she was in danger, not to mention the psychological harm caused by the ongoing trauma and fear of repeated incidents… Since some of the suspects openly endorse the activities of racist groups operating in the Czech Republic, these…attacks cannot be evaluated apart from that context, as these circumstances…are a testament to the conclusion that this behavior is not just boyishness or general rioting, but concerns an act of intentional intimidation and threats motivated by hatred toward the victim’s membership in the Roma ethnicity,” the criminal charges read. The victims are demanding that the motivation of hatred be investigated for these attacks and that Kordiovský’s behavior be classified as the crime of vandalism.
Josef Kordiovský has since apologized to Ms Vajdíková, but the attacks on her family which he and the other Workers’ Party promoters set off are continuing. In his letter to Ms Vajdíková, Kordiovský writes:
“Ms Vajdiková, I would like to apologize to you for what I have done it was not intentional and not racist at all. I will pay for the damage caused by money order. I am sorry. I hope you will accept my apology for my ill-considered action….”
Ilona Vajdíková and her daughter live in fear and have hit bottom psychologically. Ms Vajdíková is primarily concerned for the health of her daughter Sandra, who has lost 10 kg due to the psychological harm caused by the attacks, as well as for her granddaughter (Sandra’s daughter). “I am never sure when the attacks will be repeated or with what kind of intensity,” Vajdíková says.
Mikulov Mayor Rostislav Koštial, who employs local Roma in his winemaking business, understands her situation. “Ms Vajdíková’s family is like any other in Mikulov, there have never been any problems with them,” he says. He rejects one possible solution – installing a CCTV camera in front of the Zanzibar – as too costly. However, he has promised to award the family a flat in a different part of town. “We will move someone who is not Roma into that little house by the Zanzibar,” Koštial says.
Krištofová has not had a good experience with the media and doubts their objectivity. For example, she says the Nova television station did not want to broadcast a report on the first attack because no one was harmed. “That same day they broadcast a report about a ‘Gypsy’ stealing something somewhere, but no one was harmed during that incident ether,” Marcela Krištofová says, adding, “We are calling for the law to be applied in the same way to everyone. We have not harmed anyone. I have been working since I was 15 years old, my sister works, my niece worked until she went on maternity leave. Our parents worked their whole lives. We are Czechs, and they have no right to view us as foreigners.”
František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Posted by Morgan at 1:41 PM