Czech court again acquits youths accused of assaulting man because of his skin color, prosecutor may appeal
The District Court for Prague 10 has again acquitted three fans of the Czech football club Sigma Olomouc who were charged with assaulting a dark-skinned man on a tram in the capital two years ago, saying once again that it has not yet been proven that the individuals charged committed the crime. The verdict has yet to take effect and the prosecutor may appeal.
Štěpán Černín, Tomáš Satora and Josef Richard Uhlík all claim they are innocent. The trio face up to eight years in prison for battery, defamation on the basis of race, and rioting.
Judge Ivana Hynková first acquitted the three youths in May, but the Municipal Court in Prague, which was the appeals venue, overturned her decision. Hynková said on 5 December that while some football fans may have assaulted the man, the evidence presented did not convince her that Černín, Satora and Uhlík were the exact culprits.
"The participation of the defendants in the attack is possible ... however, none of them has specified the participation of the individual defendants in that act," the judge explained. The victim, a computer programmer originally from Africa who has been living in Prague for more than a decade, suffered injuries as a result of the assault on 4 November 2017.
The victim was travelling by tram when a big group of Olomouc fans heading to a match with the Bohemians club of Prague got into the same car with him. According to the indictment, the victim first had to deal with racist insults from the fans, which he ignored.
However, somebody in the crowd of football fans squeezed a lemon on him, so he then did his best to defend himself, after which some of the fans assaulted him with kicks and punches, according to the indictment. The victim ended up in surgery with bruises to his head and nose; the incident also caused him post-traumatic stress disorder.
The prosecutor proposed a sentence of 2.5 years in prison for Černín and Uhlík on 5 December and sought four years in prison for Satura because he is wanted for other crimes. "Not only is it necessary to make it clear to the defendants that such behavior cannot be tolerated, it is also necessary to make that clear to the rest of society," the prosecutor argued.
The prosecutor also proposed that the court should find the defendants guilty of demonstrating sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms on the basis of eyewitness testimony. She pointed out that the young men are being prosecuted separately for having given the Nazi salute in a train full of passengers.
According to the prosecutor, Satora is involved in several criminal proceedings - on 4 December yet another proceedings had begun against him for giving the Nazi salute in a bar and shouting the slogans "death to Polish Jews" and "white death". Satora's response to those charges was that he was not the person to give the Nazi salute in the bar but that those who did left just before the police arrived.
None of the three charged with the assault on the man in the tram deny the attack took place, but claim they had nothing to do with it. Their defense attorneys told the court on 5 December that no eyewitnesses had confirmed it was exactly the three youths charged who were responsible for the assault.
Defense attorneys also cast doubt on the results of the lineup during which the victim identified the youths as his attackers. The victim also indicated that some men in the lineup who were not suspects had been involved in the assault.
According to the defendants, there is no other evidence of their guilt. The defense attorneys also pointed out that even though other criminal proceedings have begun against the youths, they have yet to be convicted of anything.
The victim is seeking CZK 300 000 [EUR 11 760] from the defendants in moral damages. The victim originally sought another CZK 304 000 [EUR 11 915] as compensation for lost wages, but eventually withdrew that demand out of fear that the defendants would learn his identity in association with the data he would have to provide to receive payment.
- Czech court acquits man of using force against two racists who insulted him
- Czech court overturns acquittal for author of racist online comments, prosecution will continue
- Czech prosecutor appeals after court acquits online hater of saying dark-skinned first-graders should be gassed to death
- Czech court acquits football hooligans accused of assaulting dark-skinned man on Prague tram, prosecutor appeals
- Czech courts definitively acquit publisher of Salafist book of promoting a movement against human rights
- Czech court acquits police officer, says use of force against Romani harvester was legal, state to appeal
- Czech court overturns acquittal in radical Islamic book distribution case
- Czech court acquits defendant of disseminating radical Islamic book
- Czech activist acquitted of assaulting police officer
- Czech court acquits activist who used removable paint on sidewalk in front of Parliament
- Romani girl runner in Slovakia scores another regional victory
- House of Romani family in Czech Republic burns down: Arson, or unfortunate accident? Police are investigating
- Slovakia: Romani girl who ran her first race in flats now national silver medalist
- Czech President's nominee for ombudsman says he would not deal with discrimination against Roma if chosen because that's what the courts are for
- For a third time, Slovak court acquits police of brutalizing Romani children a decade ago, prosecutor appealing
- Czech trial begins of brutal, allegedly racially-motivated assault by non-Romani adults on Romani children
- Czech kickboxer of Romani origin wins gold in Sarajevo
- Czech Police say man and woman who committed racist attack against Romani children should be prosecuted
- Czech ice hockey friendly goes uncompleted after fans racially abuse Romani player and his team stops play in protest
- European Roma Rights Centre gives legal aid to victims alleging Slovak police brutality
- Czech off-duty police officer assaults Romani children for smoking
- Slovakia: Romani girl from settlement now champion runner in her region