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Czech court overturns acquittal for author of racist online comments, prosecution will continue

7.9.2019 6:57
The original photograph of this first-grade class in the Plynárenská School in Teplice, Czech Republic sparked a wave of online racism in 2017. The word in Cyrillic superimposed on the image is
The original photograph of this first-grade class in the Plynárenská School in Teplice, Czech Republic sparked a wave of online racism in 2017. The word in Cyrillic superimposed on the image is "Neklan", a reference to the Facebook page named after a mythical Bohemian prince and featuring nationalist content from which the photo was shared (it has since been deleted). News server Romea.cz has blurred the faces of the pupils in order to protect their identities.

News server iRozhlas.cz, the online service of public broadcaster Czech Radio, reports that the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem, responding to an appeal by the Czech prosecutor, has overturned the first-instance acquittal of Vítězslav Kroupa for posting hateful comments online beneath a photograph of a first-grade class in Teplice, apparently because of the children's non-"white" appearance. The lower court acquitted him by ruling that it had not been proven that Kroupa himself had authored the comment.

The acquittal was remarkable because not only did Kroupa admit to police that he was the person who had written the comments, his attorney later confirmed that information during trial. Kroupa is also facing charges of disseminating neo-Nazi symbols.

"It's a good thing they're from the Plynárenská [Gasworks] Primary School. The solution is right there," Kroupa wrote of the children, implying that they could be gassed to death.

Kroupa confessed to authoring the comment even before his prosecution had begun, but according to iRozhlas.cz, in her acquittal Judge Lucie Yakut ruled that his admission of authorship could not be taken into account exactly because he had expressed it before the prosecution began. The prosecutor then appealed, the Regional Court has now agreed with him, and the case has been returned to the lower court to be newly reviewed.

The indictment argues that Kroupa wrote the comments because of the ethnicity of the children in the photograph and was referencing the murders committed by the Nazis in their gas chambers during the Second World War. Most of the children photographed were either of Arab, Romani, or Vietnamese origin.

Kroupa also faces up to three years in prison because of the neo-Nazi photographs that police found he had published on his Facebook wall. "In the publicly accessible part of his profile he displayed the photographs mentioned of Adolf Hitler, Herman Göring, and the eagle of the Reich with a Nazi swastika, symbols or figures that are adored and used as symbols of the neo-Nazi scene, which is conclusive," prosecutor Norek highlighted previously.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Násilí z nenávisti, Neo-Nazism, Racism, Teplice



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