Czech court hears defamation case against man who insulted a member of the Govt's Roma Council in the media
On 11 February the District Court in Most, Czech Republic began hearing the case of a disgraceful remark that was made two and a half years ago by the director of the Krušnohor Housing Construction Cooperative, František Ryba, against Iveta Theuserová, who is a volunteer civil society member of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs. Ryba was quoted by the RESPEKT weekly in a report describing critics of the cooperative and its involvement in a controversial political campaign against local residents being labeled "riffraff".
The report quoted Ryba's reaction when asked about Theuserová's criticism: "That lying cikánka? Do you mean the cikánka that has the IQ of bubbling mud?"
Theuserová was insulted by being described in such a way and filed a lawsuit against Ryba for protection of her good name. Through her legal representative, David Strupek, she is demanding an apology and CZK 50 000 [EUR 2 000] in damages.
"The damages sought of CZK 50 000 might seem low, I originally wanted to ask for more. Even Mr Strupek confirmed it is rather a small amount. Of course, I asked for that after listening to the assertion of the person representing me when I first filed the lawsuit - she claimed there was no point in asking for a higher sum," Theuserová told Romea.cz.
The next hearing in the case happens to have been scheduled for 8 April and should feature testimony by the photographer and reporter for RESPEKT who interviewed Ryba in 2018. "I believe that will just be a formal confirmation of their testimony. The judge asked for RESPEKT to submit written statements before the proceedings were opened. They confirmed that all of what the readers of their magazine could read in that interview was actually said by Mr Ryba. In my view, this testimony is absolutely essential, as Mr Ryba has alleged since 2018 that he never said any such thing," the plaintiff told Romea.cz.
The Krušnohor Housing Construction Cooperative became infamous for its unconcealed connections with the Association of Most Residents for Most (Sdružením Mostečané Mostu), a local group that included as part of its local election campaign the eviction of residents whom it considers "problematic" and their relocation into what it called a "village for the riffraff". The group scored broad success with that program and won eight seats on the local assembly.
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