Czech court reduces punishment for arson attempt on Roma building
Today the Regional Court in České Budějovice reduced a first-instance court verdict sentencing a man to 2.5 years in prison without possibility of parole for attempting to set a building occupied by Romani people on fire. The Regional Court chanced the sentencing to 2.5 years' probation.
The attempted arson was committed on 14 July 2013 during a time when anti-Romani marches were taking place in the South Bohemian metropolis. The perpetrator did not complete the deed.
Occupants of the building noticed the smell of freshly-poured fuel on the sidewalk in front of it and managed to pacify the suspect before he was able to set it on fire. "This verdict is a great disappointment for the victims and for society," Markus Pape, the attorney-in-fact for the victims, commented on the court's decision for news server Romea.cz.
Pape also pointed out that the mother of the would-be arsonist complained today that the occupants of the building beat her son up during their intervention. He said Judge Slavomír Cirhan unequivocally stated that the perpetrator had demonstrably shown that he intended to set the building on fire and that when the occupants assaulted him, it was legal and necessary self-defense.
The judge believes there is no reason to prosecute the building occupants over the incident. Pape also said the Regional Court confirmed it had been proven that the defendant committed the deed as described in the indictment.
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