Czech Constitutional Court rejects complaint from neo-Nazi convicted of 2012 arson
Czech Television reported on 7 August that the Czech Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint from neo-Nazi Tomáš Kopecký, who in 2012 committed arson against a residential hotel in the town of Aš where the tenants were Romani. At the time of his attack there were 18 people, eight of whom were children, in the building.
Fortunately, none of the inhabitants suffered physical injury, as they managed to put the fire out in time. Kopecký and his accomplice, Michal Poláček, were convicted of attempted racially-motivated murder and reckless endangerment.
Both perpetrators are currently serving six years and nine months in a maximum-security prison in Kynšperk nad Ohří. In his constitutional complaint, Kopecký states that his intention was not to kill the inhabitants of the residential hotel but just to intimidate them.
The Constitutional Court has now rejected his argument. "At the time of the attack, the defendants were also reconciled to the alternative that they would cause the deaths of persons located in the directly-attacked rooms. This intention is testified to by their choice to commit the attack at night, their choice of which side of the building to target, and especially by the specific steps that they undertook to do so," the Constitutional Court quoted from the Supreme Court's 2017 finding in the matter.
According to the Supreme Court, Kopecký had to have known that people sleeping in the residential hotel might die if it were set on fire. "There is no doubt that a person sleeping in a room where a fire has been set is in immediate danger of death, and not just from the fire itself, but also from aggressive toxic fumes," the Supreme Court wrote in its decision last year.
Kopecký and Poláček, according to the courts, committed their attack as adherents of the neo-Nazi, racist, Blood & Honour Division Bohemia and its militant offshoot, Combat 18 Bohemia. They poured gasoline around the doors to the facility and threw Molotov cocktails inside it.
Jan Balík, an alleged organizer of different neo-Nazi activities, was also convicted of involvement with the incident. According to the court file, he recruited members for those groups, contributed to and set up their web pages, and sold CDs, DVDs, sweatshirts, t-shirts and other paraphernalia featuring the activities and themes of neo-Nazi groups.
The organizer was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison and did not succeed with an appeal in which he expressed, for example, reservations about the way police wiretapped his communications . Another accomplice in the case who turned to the Supreme Court without success was the man who, according to a verdict that has taken effect, set fire to a wooden shack in Prague as part of the same general effort.
That perpetrator was given a suspended sentence. The Czech courts have had to adjudicate racially-motivated arson against residences occupied by Romani people more than once.
The most famous case is from April 2009, when four neo-Nazis threw three Molotov cocktails into a single-family home in Vítkov (Opava district). The courts sentenced the extremists involved to 20 and 22 years in prison.
- Czech Constitutional Court: Complaint against decision to buy pig farm on Romani genocide site is inadmissable
- Czech city ignores Constitutional Court and refuses to abolish ordinance banning sitting outdoors
- Czech Constitutional Court receives complaint over buyout of pig farm on Romani genocide site
- Romani celebrity files complaint with Czech Constitutional Court over lower court rejection of his victimization by racist threats
- Czech Republic: Benefit concert for Romani child who survived antigypsyist arson in 2009
- Eight years since arson attack on Romani family in Czech town, perpetrators slow to pay compensation
- Analysis: The 2016 arson attack on Klinika Social Center - are the Czech Police incompetent, or omniscient?
- Czech Police close investigation into arson attack by neo-Nazis on the Klinika Social Center
- Russia claims to be "concerned" about the very neo-Nazis they support in the Czech Republic
- Czech lower house sees tussle over President's claims that "Black Lives Matter" is a "racist" slogan
- Czech Internet users fall for ultra-right disinformation parody - and instead of laughing, they lash out
- Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg: Mr President, you've committed another complete faux pas
- Czech President Zeman marks US Independence Day by calling Black Lives Matter "racist"
- Commentary: Czech philosopher Daniel Kroupa has crossed the line, or: What is racism?
- Cyril Koky: I want to serve in the Czech Senate
- Commentary: Romani actors should boycott Czech cop show over antigypsyist content
- ROMEA announces Romani Scholarship Program for 2020/2021 in the Czech Republic
- Czech football hooligans' racism against black player to be addressed by disciplinary commission
- Germany: Trial begins of right-wing extremist charged with murder of local politician
- Volkswagen apologizes for racist advertisement, claiming it was "unintentional"