PHOTO-RIGHT WING DEMONSTRATION AGAINST ROMANIwww.allvoices.com
The owners of a pub in Hojsova Stráž (Klatovy district) must apologize to František Kroščen, a member of the Romani minority, for displaying a baseball bat in their business inscribed with the words "For Gypsies". The Prague High Court handed down the final verdict last week, ruling that Kroščen was justified in considering the baseball bat discriminatory and an attack on his ethnicity. However, the court did not award him the CZK 150 000 in damages he was seeking.
Kroščen had previously not succeeded with his civil suit for protection of personality rights in the lower courts, which did not view the baseball bat as discriminatory, racist or an instance of harassment motivated by nationality and skin color. The Municipal Court in Prague repeatedly came to the conclusion that the presence of the baseball bat did not create a degrading, frightening, humiliating or unfriendly atmosphere. It was also "decorated" with other inscriptions and earlier verdicts ruled that it was more a joke than an attack on human dignity.
The bat was displayed in the hands of an ancient god and served as decoration on the premises. The court ruled that the Romani plaintiff was not entitled to either an apology or damages, a verdict that was upheld on appeal.
Last January, however, the Czech Constitutional Court reopened the case and ruled that the lower-level courts had not sufficiently justified their decisions and had not addressed some of Kroščen's objections. The courts have been handling the case since 2001.