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Czech Constitutional Court rejects complaint from convener of banned anti-Romani assembly

21.11.2015 17:06
The neo-Nazi Pavel Sládek Matějný (in the white t-shirt with the megaphone) was the main organizer of an anti-Romani demonstration in the town of Vítkov on 3 August 2013. Vítkov is the place where neo-Nazis firebombed a Romani home in 2009, almost burning an infant to death.
The neo-Nazi Pavel Sládek Matějný (in the white t-shirt with the megaphone) was the main organizer of an anti-Romani demonstration in the town of Vítkov on 3 August 2013. Vítkov is the place where neo-Nazis firebombed a Romani home in 2009, almost burning an infant to death.

Local authorities did not make an error when they banned an assembly and march in the town of České Budějovice in 2013 out of concerns over extremism. The Czech News Agency has ascertained from the database of the findings and rulings of the Constitutional Court (Ústavní soud - ÚS) that it has rejected a complaint filed against that decision by the convener of the assembly, Pavel Matějný.

According to the local authority, there was a significant risk the event, which was presented as a protest "against crime and for the rights of decent citizens" would turn against Romani people. The Regional Court in České Budějovice also rejected Matějný's lawsuit and he did not succeed with a cassation complaint before the Supreme Administrative Court either.

In his subsequent Constitutional complaint, the convener said his right to a fair trial had been violated and criticized the lower court decisions for insufficient reasoning. He had previously complained that his right to assembly had been violated.

The Constitutional Court justices upheld the lower court decisions. "The plaintiff did not manage to document the existence of any interference with his constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights or freedoms," the decision reads.

The assembly had been scheduled for 14 September 2013. The ultra-right group Czech Lions (Čeští lvi) presented it on its website as part of their Czech Lions Tour, a series of marches in various towns throughout the country.

Matějný was also the organizer of the assemblies in some of those other locations. In his lawsuit against the ban he appealed to the equality of all citizens before the law.

State bodies, he believes, are not allowed to restrict people's political rights just because of their opinions. The local authority's response to the lawsuit was that it had not banned the event because of the "characteristics of the convener as a cadre", but because it had assessed all of the available information about the event and believed it posed a danger.

The local authority also proposed to Matějný that he change the route of his march so as to avoid the Máj housing estate. He rejected that offer.

Against Romani people in Duchcov and Vítkov 

Matějný usually adds the surname of his favorite ultra-right politician, Sládek, to his own surname and has been involved as an organizer of events in several other places, such as 

the town of Vítkov. He chose that locale deliberately because it was the site of a famous arson attack on a Romani family, for which four perpetrators were subsequently convicted.

"You know what's happening throughout the republic - in České Budějovice, in Duchcov. We want to draw attention to the unfair sentences that were handed down in the Vítkov case," he said at the time.

It was also Matějný who, during one of the anti-Romani demonstrations in Duchcov, led a group of neo-Nazis into a street brawl. "This isn't just our route, it's our town!" he shouted, after which the extremists threw themselves at police officers (in the video clip below Matějný is wearing a white t-shirt and black pants and his head is shaved).

VIDEO

He is known to have attended many extremist events, such as a meeting between the Workers Social Justice Party of the Czech Republic and German neo-Nazis. He was also photographed while giving the Nazi salute next to a flag of the Nazi Third Reich featuring the Iron Cross at an event  billed as the "W.P. Officially Unofficial International Meeting of Nationalists".

That meeting was convened by the neo-Nazi Jaromír Pytel. That member of the ultra-right also aided in organizing one of the anti-Romani marches in České Budějovice in 2013.    

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Anticiganismus, Demonstrace, Extremism, Neo-Nazism, Racism, Verdict



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