Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Police arrest suspects in attempted arson in Býchory, Czech Republic

Police have arrested four people suspected of throwing a flaming torch into a Romani home yesterday in Býchory, Kolín district. Soňa Budská, spokesperson for the Central Bohemian Regional Police, reported the arrests to the Czech Press Agency today. Those detained, who are between the ages of 20 and 25, are being prosecuted on suspicion of complicity in the crime of attempted grievous bodily harm. Policie officers are also investigating racial motivation for the attack.

Police arrested all four suspects on Monday afternoon. "Since morning the detectives have been performing other procedural tasks in this matter. They will be filing a motion to have the detainees remanded into custody," the spokesperson said.

She refused to say whether the suspects are members of extremist movements or to give any other details, given that the investigation is ongoing.

In the early morning hours of Monday a flaming torch was thrown into a Romani home in Býchory, Kolín district. No one suffered physical injury. Someone threw the wrapped stick, resembling a torch, into the living room. The victims managed to put out the fire.

After initiating their investigation, detectives determined that a group had marched through the village in the early morning hours shouting racist slogans, and that one man from that group then threw the flaming torch into the Romani people's apartment.

Should the suspects be charged and convicted of racially motivated attempted grievous bodily harm, they would face as much as 12 years in prison.

The most famous racially motivated attack against Romani people in recent years remains the April 2009 case in which four right-wing extremists threw three Molotov cocktails into a single-family house in Vítkov. During the subsequent blaze three people were injured.

An infant who was not yet two years old at the time suffered the most serious injuries.

In March the court sent the perpetrators to prison for sentences ranging from 20 to 22 years. Not quite one year after the Vítkov case, a similar attack on a Romani home was committed in the Bedřiška settlement of Ostrava.

However, in this case the court ruled that the motivation was not racism, but a dispute between neighbors. In March the court sent the juvenile perpetrator to prison for four years, while his mother was sent to prison for 7.5 years for having instructed him to commit reckless endangerment.
Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

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