A quarter of a century ago, 18 racists hounded a Romani man to death; the Czech courts convicted just three
Tibor Danihel, a Romani resident of the Czech town of Písek, was just 17 years old when, on 24 September 1993, a group of neo-Nazis chased him into the Otava river, where he drowned. The subsequent trial of the culprits was a complicated journey from first-instance acquittals for almost all the defendants to an eventual ruling, for three perpetrators, of prison sentences without the possibility of parole.
The death of Mr Danihel remains one of the most infamous cases of racially-motivated violence in the Czech Republic to this day. The adherents of the extreme right had assembled in the South Bohemian town on the fateful day after traveling there from several surrounding communities.
Armed with baseball bats, nunchakus and other weapons, the assailants headed toward "City Island" (Městský ostrov) in the Otava River, where they had spotted four Romani men. Fearing attack, the Romani men all jumped into the river.
The racists then did their best to prevent the Romani men from coming ashore. Three of the victims eventually managed to leave the cold water, but Mr Danihel was not so fortunate.
In mid-October 1994, 18 individuals were charged with being accomplices to Mr Danhel's death and were tried by the District Court in Písek. At the beginning of December 1994, the court acquitted 16 of the defendants and sentenced two of them to conditional prison sentences of one year.
The appeals court overturned that verdict in the spring of 1995, at which point the main investigating detective halted the prosecution of most of those involved, citing a lack of evidence. The legal representative for Mr Danihel's mother, the famous attorney Kolja Kubíček, filed a complaint against the detective with the Czech Constitutional Court.
The court in Písek then received an indictment charging defendants Milan Brat, Zdeněk Habich, Jaroslav Churáček and Martin Pomije with causing Mr Danihel's death. The subsequent trial was complicated and full of reversals.
A definitive verdict was not pronounced until June 1999. For convictions of either racially-motivated attempted murder or racially-motivated murder, the High Court in Prague sentenced Churáček to eight years in prison, Habich to seven and a half years, and Pomije to six and a half years.
At the time of the murder all three perpetrators had been minors, so by law the court was not able to sentence them to longer than 10 years in prison. The fourth defendant, Milan Brat, was acquitted during a separate trial in the summer of the year 2000.
- Czech convicted of racially-motivated murder of Romani man is running for mayor
- Racists and populists will not stop us! ROMEA launches crowdfunding campaign to support news server Romea.cz
- Czech appeals court reduces sentence for murder of Romani man to seven years, prosecutor calls it disproportionate, inhumane and unjust
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner says she will criticize politicians who are racist and resign rather than be censored
- Czech politician spreads hateful racist hoaxes online against dark-skinned footballers, Muslims and Roma
- First-graders from Czech school subjected to racist attacks online receive tablets thanks to ROMEA's fundraising drive
- Czech Police propose indicting football fans who assaulted African man on a Prague tram for racist reasons
- Czech Police indict bodybuilder who praised shooting of Romani man and made his own death threats
- Czech trial of last year's murder of a Romani man in Chomutov, defendant claims he was trying to protect people
- Czech prosecutor indicts shooter for murder, refutes police report that he was responding to victim driving into people
- Live online press conference 11 AM TODAY: Czech school targeted by racists hosts fundraisers from "THEY WANT TO GAS THEM, WE WANT TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!"
- Czech Police investigating three suspects over death threats against first-graders
- New Zealand grants asylum to family from Czech Republic with non-Romani and Romani members because of neo-Nazi death threats
- Czech pro-Kremlin disinformation Facebook page sparks wave of racist, vulgar comments about non-white infant
- Romani celebrity files complaint with Czech Constitutional Court over lower court rejection of his victimization by racist threats
- Czech court fines online racists a mere EUR 4 for death threats against Romani celebrity
- Czech sociologist: Racist online calls to gas children are unacceptable
- Czech Greens call on Prague Vice-Mayor to stop sharing racist video
- Czech principal expresses gratitude for solidarity shown after online racist death threats
- Czech court conditionally suspends prosecution of man who threatened to kill Romani celebrity
- Slovakia: "Invisible Roma" protest insult by the speaker of Parliament
- Romani band Bengas issues new video protesting racist attacks after performer moves away from the Czech Republic
- Renata Berkyová: Czech sitcom is rocking the Czech-Romani world
- Czech Republic becoming a favorite destination for German neo-Nazis to practice target shooting
- Romani community opinion divided over new Czech Television sitcom with Romani characters
- Czech university sponsors art project referencing opponent of Hitler in town known for its intolerance
- Czech court hears testimony from former secretary to ultranationalist party about his bigoted outburst
- Center-right MP tells the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" party they are "Czech Nazis"
- Museum of Romani Culture responds to Czech MP's critique of the new memorial to the Romani genocide at Lety
- Commentary: Czech Social Democrats have to choose between democracy and racism
- Czech MP belittles Holocaust victims who are Romani, asking "What's to respect?"