Thursday, December 29, 2011


Czech court confirms stiff sentences for race hate arson


The Czech Supreme Court has confirmed exemplary sentences on four Czech who atacked the house of a Roma family with Molotov cocktails
The Czech Supreme Court (NS) has confirmed sentences of between 20 and 22 years in prison for four Czechs who took part in an arson attack on a Roma family that left a two-year-old nearly dead and scarred for the rest of her life from burns.

Court spokesman Petr Knötig said on Wednesday it had found the appeal on behalf of the men “unsubstantiated,” without giving further details.
The attack took place in April 2009 when the four threw Molotov cocktails into the family’s house at Vítkov in the north-east of the country. Three people were injured in the attack, the most serious the two-year old who suffered burns to around 80 percent of her body and only survived thanks to her own will power and top medical help.

An earlier appeal in March against the sentences for attempted murder with racial motivation said that the original court verdicts, described as exemplary at the time, were tough but not excessive. The original verdict from an Ostrava court said it was clear that the attackers knew that their victims could be killed.

A final appeal is possible to the Constitutional Court, but it rarely accepts appeals against sentences handed down for criminal violence.

Now for an update on current cases of firebombings against Romani people in Czech Republic.


Police have completed their investigation into a racist attack perpetrated against a Romani family in Býchory (Kolín district) earlier this year. Four youths suspected of attempting to set fire to the Romani family's apartment will be prosecuted in the near future.
"The charges of a racially motivated attack remain in the motion to prosecute," Michal Mazánek, chief detective in the Central Bohemian Region, told the Mediafax agency. The four face prosecution for conspiring and attempting the felony crimes of committing violence against members of a particular group and grievous bodily harm.

The four youths suspected are from Býchory and neighboring villages and are in their early twenties. Since the initial charges against them were reduced, they were not remanded into custody.

The youths are suspected of throwing a flaming torch through the window of a Romani family's first-floor apartment in Býchory at the start of July. Before throwing it from the street, they loudly chanted "Bohemia for the Czechs" and other slogans with racial subtexts. The fire was put out in time and no one was injured.

Some media have reported that the torch was put out by the eight-year-old son of the victimized family (who is actually nine years old). News server has refuted those claims. The torch was put out by an adult, a friend of the family who was visiting and watching television in the room where the torch landed.

The youths face prison sentences of between three and 12 years because they committed the crime together. The longest sentence may be handed down to the youngest member of the group, who is 21.

A similar case occurred in August in the town of Krty (Rakovník district). A still-unidentified perpetrator attacked a Romani family there in the early morning hours of Wednesday, 10 August. A Molotov cocktail flew through the window of the small home at the train station where the family lives, landing next to a cot where a one-year-old child was sleeping. The parents were in the room at the time. The father succeeded in putting out the flaming bottle but burned his foot in the process. Mediafax reports that police and residents of the village said no one had ever had any problems with the victimized family.

The most famous racially motivated attack against Romani victims in recent years remains the case from April 2009 in which four right-wing extremists threw three Molotov cocktails into a small house in Vítkov (Opava district). During the subsequent blaze three people were injured. An infant who was not quite two years old at the time suffered the worst injuries. This past March a court sent the perpetrators to serve sentences of 20 and 22 years in prison.

Not quite one year after the Vítkov case, a similar attack was committed against the home of a Romani family in the Bedřiška settlement of Ostrava. In that case, however, the court ruled that the motivation had not been racism, but disputes between neighbors. The juvenile perpetrator of that attack was sent to prison for four years by the court this past March, while his mother got 7.5 years for instructing him to commit reckless endangerment.
ryz, Mediafax, translated by Gwendolyn AlbertROMEA

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