Czech court overturns acquittal of former neo-Nazi party members
At the end of September a Prague appeals court overturned the first-instance acquittal of former members of the now-defunct Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS) and other right-wing extremists charged with promoting neo-Nazism. Court spokesperson Zuzana Steinerová has confirmed the eight defendants will have to appear once more before the Prague 1 District Court.
The state prosecutor says members of the group participated in promoting the National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) movement and convening neo-Nazi events. The court acquitted the eight a year ago last October.
In 2012 presiding judge Dana Šindelářová strongly criticized the work of the Organized Crime Detection Unit, which conducted the preliminary investigation. She said the police had not provided sufficient evidence and that the court had no other option than to acquit the defendants.
"The court must state that even if the defense had been inactive, even if the defendants had represented themselves or had presented no defense whatsoever, it would not have changed the court's conclusion that they must be acquitted," the judge said at the time. The ongoing lawsuit covers four crimes in total.
The first crime concerns Patrik Vondrák, former chair of the Prague organization of the now-defunct DS; former party member Michaela Rodová (formerly Dupová); Richard Lang; Petr Fryč, once a DS candidate in elections to the European Parliament; and Filip Vávra, a longtime activist on the ultra-right scene. All were accused of posting propaganda materials for the neo-Nazi NO in the center of Prague on the evening of 4 December 2008.
Vondrák; Rodová; Lang; Milan Hroch, the former chair of the DS regional organization in Vysočina; former DS member Martin Václavek; and Daniel Zavadil are also charged with convening and organizing an assembly and march on 6 June 2009 in Jihlava which was dispersed as illegal by a municipal official immediately after it began. The event had been announced as a commemorative march to honor the memory of the victims of the Second World War, but its real purpose, according to the lawsuit, was to honor the memories of fallen Nazi Wehrmacht soldiers and SS members.
Rodová is also charged with participating in creating and running the website for Resistance Women Unity (RWU), which police say is the women's branch of the NO. She is also suspected of convening and organizing a white power music concert in February 2009 in Srby na Kladensku.
The entire proceedings has dragged on for several years and has already been handled by three sets of criminal law judges. The state prosecutor has now proposed suspended sentences in the event of conviction, even though the defendants have been facing punishment of between three and eight years in prison.
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