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September 18, 2021

 

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Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry announces its readiness to communicate findings of investigation into Teplice case

25.6.2021 13:40
The police intervention against a 46-year-old Romani man in Teplice, Czech Republic, Stanislav Tomáš, who later died (19 June 2021). (PHOTO:  Facebook)
The police intervention against a 46-year-old Romani man in Teplice, Czech Republic, Stanislav Tomáš, who later died (19 June 2021). (PHOTO: Facebook)

The Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry is prepared to present the Czech state's official findings regarding the police intervention in Teplice to forums internationally should there be any interest in them. The ministry made the statement today.

The Council of Europe on Wednesday called for an immediate, independent, thorough investigation of the death that happened subsequent to that intervention. The ministry is waiting for the results of that investigation so they can communicate them to international organizations and partners.

"We fully believe the case will be investigated properly and transparently," the ministry announced. Czech Deputy PM and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has reiterated his support for the intervening officers more than once.  

When asked by the Czech News Agency (ČTK) on Wednesday, the Interior Minister told them the matter was being investigated by the Internal Affairs Department. Today he posted this statement to Twitter:  "I regret the loss of every human life, it is appropriate to express condolences to the bereaved, but one crucial thing applies here: The gentleman was killed by drugs. If he had not taken drugs, he would still be with us."   

Police used force against Romani community member Stanislav Tomáš on Saturday in Teplice, after which he is said to have died in the ambulance called to the scene. The preliminary police investigation ruled out any association between his death and the intervention by police. 

On Monday, police spokesperson Daniel Vítek told ČTK that the autopsy report indicated the influence of drugs. A doctor had previously stated that the cause of death had apparently been a drug overdose.    

Amateur video footage of the intervention by police was posted to social media. From that footage it is apparent that Mr Tomáš was physically resisting and shouting and that the officers were using force against him.  

News server Romea.cz reported, based on the footage, that the intervening officer knelt on Mr Tomáš's neck for several minutes. The case is still being investigated. 

The Council of Europe said the footage of the incident is disturbing and gives rise to many questions. The civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs have distanced themselves from the remarks made about the case by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and the Interior Minister in support of the officers. 

The civil society members have said that by making their remarks before the investigation is over, the politicians have undermined faith in the impartiality of the investigation. They have also insisted that the Interior Minister and PM attend the next Council session on Wednesday, 30 June, that these officials guarantee the investigation will be independent, and that they guarantee the communication of the findings will lead to "calming the situation and renewing trust". 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Drogy, ministři, Policie, Smrt Roma v Teplicích



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