Czech convicted of racially-motivated murder of Romani man is running for mayor
News server Novinky.cz reports that Vlastimil Pechanec, the convicted murderer who spent 13 years in prison for the racist murder of a Romani man named Otto Absolon at a discotheque in the town of Svitavy, is now running in the upcoming local elections as the leader of a movement calling itself "For a Safe Svitavy" (Za bezpečné Svitavy) and as a candidate for the Workers Social Justice Party (DSSS), of which he is a member. Pechanec was sentenced in 2003 to 17 years for the 2001 murder.
The court justified the length of the sentence by referencing the fact that the crime had a racist motive, as well as referencing expert witness testimony. Forensic psychologists told the court that Pechanec was a person whom it would be difficult to reform.
In June 2014, however, Pechanec was paroled after serving 13 years and given a six-year probation period. He has never admitted his guilt and is depicted by the ultra-right scene as a hero and a victim of the justice system's machinery.
A protest march has been held annually in Svitavy against Pechanec's imprisonment, organized first by right-wing radical individuals and then primarily by adherents of the DSSS. The march route has always led past the housing estate where most Romani residents of Svitavy live, and those demonstrating have customarily chanted anti-Romani slogans.
"Let's show our strength"
"[Pechanec] was meant to run two years ago for Regional Governor, then his mother ran instead," a DSSS member in Svitavy told the Czech daily Právo. "That was just a test, now we will show our strength in Svitavy."
The Executive Vice Chair of the DSSS, Jiří Štěpánek, has confirmed that Pechanec is running for the party, as are other "patriots". "In the autumn local elections more than 400 of our patriots will compete for seats on local assemblies," he told Právo.
Despite the claims of the DSSS, the leaders of other parties running in Svitavy are not concerned about Pechanec as a serious competitor. "I do not think he will get a seat on the local assembly," Mayor David Šimek, the leader of the Association for the Town of Svitavy, told Právo.
"There are just nine people on the candidate list of Pechanec's movement," Šimek said. Czech Television reported in 2016 that the Czech Constitutional Court rejected as manifestly unfounded a complaint filed by Pechanec against a March 2016 ruling by the High Court in Prague refusing to reopen his trial.
- Czech Republic: Racist murderer of Romani man is ultra-right's candidate in regional elections
- Czech court commissions evidence review in response to convicted neo-Nazi murderer's request for retrial
- Slovakia: Ultra-right calls for "asocials" to be sent to labor camps, police investigating
- Germany: Vandals cut down tree honoring victims of neo-Nazi terrorists
- Czech court rules no mass vote-buying in local elections in Bílina this time, results stand
- Czech town hall decides local election slogans about "pests" and "poison" were not even misdemeanors
- Slovak Police arrest Czech citizen and two Slovak citizens on suspicion of extremism
- Commentary: Czech ultra-right politicians singing in harmony, and Russia likes it
- Czech gunman convicted of shooting Romani man moved from prison to temporary custody pending appeal
- Czech city backtracks on scope of plan to house homeless, cutting the units to be offered by half
- Amnesty International: No justice one year after attack on a Romani camp in Ukraine
- Slovakia has elected its first female President - Čaputová thanks voters in Romanes again
- Slovakia: Ultra-right tries to exploit tragedy, raise tensions between non-Roma and Roma
- New Zealand: Ultra-right extremists murder 49 people in two mosques, live-streaming their crime