Czech court sentences Romani man to six months in prison for hate speech against the Czech President and others
The Czech courts have been addressing more and more cases recently of people who have been posting hate speech online, and not just racially-motivated hate speech. Two such cases were recently dealt with by the District Court in Ostrava, one of which involved the prosecution of verbal threats against the founder of the music group Gipsy.cz, Radoslav Banga.
As news server Romea.cz reported previously, the court decided to conditionally suspend those proceedings. The other case before the District Court in Ostrava recently involved a 21-year-old Romani man who has now been given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, for defaming the Czech nation in an online discussion.
The District Court has now closed the case of racist commentaries made through online social networks against Banga, a famous Romani rapper. In 2017, when the Ortel band, who are known for their neo-Nazi lyrics, was given a prize during the Czech Nightingale (Český slavík) popular music awards, Banga immediately demonstrated his disagreement with the decision during the televised ceremony.
Dozens of hateful messages were then sent to the performer, one from a man in Ostrava who was eventually brought up on charges. "To call you a black swine would be flattery, you're just shitty filth," his post read in part.
"Gas would be too easy, I'd slit your throat ISIS-style!" the man in Ostrava posted. He later expressed regret in court, sent a letter of apology to the singer, and had his attorney pay the CZK 5 000 [EUR 194] that Banga sought as moral damages.
The defendant has also donated CZK 8 000 [EUR 310] to a particular organization that aids crime victims. Thanks to those gestures, the court has now conditionally halted his prosecution.
According to Banga's attorney, Klára Kalibová of the In IUSTITIA organization, the court's decision in this case was incorrect. "In my opinion, the defendant does not actually regret this matter," Kalibová told news server Romea.cz earlier this month.
"He did not apologize to the victim until just before the main hearing, i.e., more than a year and a half after he committed this act, and he only did so in a formal sense. He has not undertaken any basic reflection about his behavior," she said.
Denik.cz has reported that the District Court in Ostrava has now sentenced a Romani man to six months in prison, suspended for two years, for defaming the Czech nation and the President of the Czech Republic during an online discussion. The maximum sentence that could have been handed down for those charges was three years.
The man's illiterate post included threats, mentioned burning people alive, and used vulgarisms. "You Czech whores should all be shot along with your children. The Czech Republic is the worst nation, you should be burned alive, you white whores, including your President, that fucker should be kicked between his legs," the post read, among other things.
The post was reported to police, who investigated and had no problem tracking down the author. The Romani man admitted to having written the post and apologized, saying he had been carried away by anger when reading hateful commentaries against Romani people posted to the discussion forum.
"I let myself get carried away," he told the court. He had criticized the President because of a speech the President had given which the Romani man assessed as inappropriate toward Roma.
The Romani defendant claimed he had just wanted to express his disagreement when he posted the comments. As he emphasized in his testimony, he decidedly did not intend to harm anybody or to incite anybody else to harm people.
The court also heard the Romani defendant express regret for his behavior. The verdict in his case has now taken effect.
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