Czech court rejects Interior Ministry lawsuit over gallows mock-ups
The Municipal Court in Prague has rejected a lawsuit filed by the Czech Interior Ministry against the Prague 1 Municipal Department over mock-ups of gallows that were used during demonstrations against Islam last year. The local authority assessed the action of bringing the mock-ups to a public assembly as lawful.
The ministry filed an administrative complaint against that decision. The court has now ruled that the ministry was not authorized to file the suit because the local authority's decision did not impinge upon any rights enjoyed by the ministry.
The Czech News Agency has a copy of the verdict. The court has found that what is at issue is a dispute between the two state authorities about the application and interpretation of the law.
"[The ministry] disagrees with the respondent's assessment as to whether the behavior of the persons carrying the mockups of gallows met the definition of a misdemeanor and whether an administrative proceedings should have been initiated against them," the court's verdict reads. Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratc Party - ČSSD) announced the filing of the lawsuit this past May.
Chovanec believes that the threatening nature of the gallows must not be considered legal. In his view, carrying a gallows to a demonstration and publicly threatening any Czech citizens is not covered by freedom of speech and should be assessed as a misdemeanor at least.
In July of last year, several hundred people protested in the center of Prague against immigration and reception quotas for refugees. Some participants in the demonstration carried mockups of gallows inscribed with the phrase "For Treason", which they believed some Czech politicians had committed.
The Prague 1 Municipal Department decided last fall that the man who brought the gallows to the assembly did not commit a misdemeanor. That decision was subsequently confirmed by Prague City Hall.
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