Czech bodybuilder fined for approving of murder of Romani man, he appeals
News server iDNES.cz reports that Filip Grznár, a bodybuilder, fitness trainer, MMA fighter and YouTuber, has been fined CZK 15 000 [EUR 550] by the District Court in Chomutov. The court has found him guilty of committing violence against a group and its individual members and of approving of a felony.
According to the indictment, Grznár made a video of himself in Plzeň in June 2017 in which he expresses approval for a murder that took place in May 2017 in Chomutov. In court he immediately appealed the conviction and sentence against him.
The case will next be heard by the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem. Grznár is defending himself by arguing that he made the video in response to a certain situation about which he did not have much information at the time.
"All I knew was that somebody had used a firearm to stop a person who was driving a car into people. In other words, it was a weapon being used against another weapon. I didn't even know anybody had died," the defendant testified.
"Nobody could have seriously believed that as a well-known figure and father of two I would drive over to Chomutov and murder somebody there. That's absurd," he told the court.
"I don't believe we will convince the Regional Court, but certainly we will convinced the higher courts, the Supreme Court or the Constitutional Court, and we are prepared to bring this case to them. In this matter what is at stake is freedom of speech and also whether it is possible, in an art work, to use something that evidently sounds like hyperbole, in context," the attorney for the defendant, Jan Varga, told iDNES.cz.
The Chomutov murder
In the spring of 2017, a man named Petr Benda shot to death the driver of a van on the street of a housing estate in Chomutov and has since been convicted of that crime. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
According to reporting by news server Romea.cz, the incident was preceded by an argument between two Romani men. A non-Romani man then came out of a nearby building and began firing his gun.
According to eyewitnesses, between six and eight shots were fired. "[The Romani men] had been to the discotheque, and when they came home there was some kind of argument between them. That man shouted from inside the building that they should be quiet and stop making noise, and he was the one who later fired a gun. They had gone out down to the street and were in front of the building and the argument was continuing. One of them then got into a vehicle but the argument kept on going. Then that man came with his gun and began shooting at everybody. The shooter was not a Romani man. One of the Romani men jumped into the bushes, and a woman managed to hide also. He shot at the man in the car and at a dog on the scene. He did not fire just one round, he fired more than once," an eyewitness told Romea.cz.
Another eyewitness confirmed to Romea.cz that an argument had happened between two Romani men who are related. "That Czech man who shot at them had nothing to do with it. Their argument was with each other. The mother of the man who was eventually shot was here also, she told him they should stop arguing," this eyewitness described the tragic event to Romea.cz.
"The gunman came out of the building, shouted at the guy in the car 'Shut your black mouth already, you cikánskej fucker' and immediately fired the gun. He killed the dog with his first shot and then fired at the guy in the car. He's a former prison guard and he knew where he was shooting, he's been trained," the eyewitness told Romea.cz, adding that the driver of the van had apparently hit the shooter's car with the van.
Some media outlets reported at the time that the young man had driven the van into people and was then shot dead. The eyewitness to the incident rejected that version of events.
"Nobody else was here. There were just the two men who were arguing, then the mother of one of them came out and did her best to calm them down. Then another Romani woman was here for a bit, but she hid. Otherwise, everybody else was following it from their windows or balconies," the eyewitness told Romea.cz.
Approval of murder
Several days after the attack, Grznár posted a video to his Instagram profile in which he approved of the shooting. "Some cikán drove a car into people and injured somebody. Somebody else there defended himself against him, he took his legally licensed 9 millimeter and shot him. He did a good deed. The problem is that the fucking Czech justice system will send him behind bars, it's horrible. The cikáni want to cause unrest and are threatening his family. If they do that, then I will go after those cikány in Chomutov. I'll kill it," are the words Grznár actually spoke on camera.
The bodybuilder is known for his indiscriminate choice of words, his ungrammatical writing, his use of methamphetamine, and for wearing the neo-Nazi clothing brand Thor Steiner. In one of his videos he invited the populist, xenophobic politician Tomio Okamura to work out with him.
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