Czech Foreign Ministry says police raid on mosques was in order
The Czech Foreign Ministry has told the Czech News Agency that a recent police raid on mosques in Prague did not violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Indonesian Embassy sent a diplomatic note to the Czech authorities complaining that the police approach violated the convention's stipulation that diplomats may not be arrested or detained in any way.
Wahono Yulianto, Secretary of the Embassy of Indonesia, was directly involved in the raid and has criticized the armed police officers' practices. Representatives of the embassy were allegedly not released from the mosque for an hour and a half even though they wanted to show the officers their diplomatic credentials.
Czech diplomats have responded to the Indonesian note on the basis of information from the police. "During the police raid, no members of the diplomatic staff of the mission were detained, what happened was just a brief delay given the need to verify the identities of those present," Pavla Veličkinová of the press department of the Czech Foreign Ministry said; the Czech Interior Ministry previously announced that an internal police investigation found the raid to have been properly handled.
The Prague raid had diplomatic consequences in Indonesia. Czech Ambassador Tomáš Smetánka was subsequently summoned by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and reportedly spoke with his Indonesian counterparts about current issues, with the Indonesians mentioning the raid on the Prague mosque.
Police officers raided the Prague mosque and Islamic centers at the end of April, on a Friday just before the main prayers of the week were to begin. After the raid a man from Prague was charged with promoting and supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms, for which he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of having arranged for the publishing and distribution of books disseminating racism in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Government Committee on the Rights of Foreigners also recently reviewed the raid as well. The committee has called on the Government to assure Muslims in the Czech Republic that it will respect their religious sensitivities and values.
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