Czech Gov't Roma Council calls on Interior Minister, Police President to thoroughly investigate death of Romani man in Žatec
The Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs has demanded that Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) and Police President Tomáš Tuhý thoroughly investigate the October incident at a pizzeria in Žatec during which a young Romani man died. "After extensive discussion, the Council adopted a resolution asking the Interior Minister and Police President to thoroughly investigate the case of the death of the man in Žatec," reads a press release issued by the Council after yesterday's meeting.
The Žatec scandal was not originally included on the agenda. Civil society members of the Council proposed adding the item.
The ministerial members of the Council unanimously agreed to add it. "Everybody is aware of the gravity of the situation, the members present agreed to include it without any need for explanation," František Bikár, a civil society member, told news server Romea.cz.
During the meeting the video footage that was published yesterday by news server Romea.cz was shown to the Council. The footage proves that during the intervention by the local police the young Romani man was punched at least once, most probably in the head, by a customer in the pizzeria.
The civil society members of the Council also criticized the work of police during last week's memorial event in Žatec. They believe police underestimated the situation at the scene.
Statement by civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs
Given the developments in this situation and the divergent information published by the media about the case of the death of M.D. in Žatec on 18 October 2016 we are asking the Police of the Czech Republic to thoroughly investigate the events that preceded the arrival of the Municipal Police patrol at Pizzeria Panamera, as well as the way the Municipal Police proceeded at the scene. We also object to the following events that transpired on 27 October 2016 during the properly announced memorial assembly in Žatec:
1) We consider the statement made by the mayor to the gathering to have been inappropriate. As a representative of the entity that established the Municipal Police force, she sent the clear message that she was assuming the outcome of the investigation and is not impartial.
2) The Police of the Czech Republic were unable to handle the security situation at the site of the assembly and underestimated it. Protection for those participating in the gathering was insufficient, as directly at the remembrance site there were right-wing extremists waiting for the mourners and the police allowed the opportunity for mutual provocations and the escalation of tensions in the town to develop by allowing them to assemble there.
We are aware that it is necessary to await the results of the investigation and we impatiently await them, as does a large proportion of the Romani national minority who are anxious already about this case, which is just one of many in which the approach taken by local or state police is questionable. More than one such case involving unclear circumstances around a death, like this death of the young Romani man in Žatec, has happened in recent years, and the case of M.D. could mark a watershed moment.
As members of this advisory body to the Government of the Czech Republic we are not sure whether it is not already too late to attempt to avoid civil unrest. Despite the fact that the majority-society media have shown little interest in this incident, the case is being followed by tens of thousands of Romani people.
This declaration is signed by the following members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs:
Jan Balog, Vice-Chair
Bc. Martina Horváthová, member
Bc. Lýdia Poláčková, member
Mgr. Lucie Fuková, member
PhDr. Renáta Köttnerová, member
Čeněk Růžička, member
František Bikár, member
Mgr. Jan Kudry, Ph.D., member
Bc. Michal Mižigár, member
Ing. Karel Holomek, member
Ing. Emil Horvát, member
- Czech Republic: Romani activist calls on Mayor of Žatec to resign
- Czech Republic: Eyewitness video footage shows Romani man was subjected to violence before he died
- Edited CCTV footage from Czech pizzeria where Romani man died is broadcast, questions remain unanswered
- Objects fly over Czech Police line as Roma insist on their right to honor dead man
- Czech court hears defamation case against man who insulted a member of the Govt's Roma Council in the media
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner tells ROMEA TV ombudsman is wrong to say Roma not involved with Strategy, removal of his deputy from councils makes no sense
- Czech ombudsman claims his deputy was not appointed to Govt councils, Romea.cz has proof that is not true
- Volunteer civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council: ombudsman intentionally undermining the dignity of Romani people
- Romani community members debate the Czech Govt Strategy on Roma for 2021-2030
- Czech Govt Human Rights Commissioner expects new Roma strategy to be adopted by the end of January
- Edita Stejskalová on resigning as a volunteer civil society member of the Czech Govt Roma Council: We should advise ministers, not lower-level officials
- Two more volunteer civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council resign, civil vice chair post currently empty
- New volunteer civil society member of Czech Govt Roma Council says it does not communicate with the Romani public enough
- Vice-Chair of Czech Govt Council for Roma Minority Affairs wants to hear what Romani entrepreneurs need to respond to the effects of the pandemic
- Civil society: The Czech state is not fully implementing its Roma integration policy
- Czech ombudsman attacks volunteer members of the Government's Council on Roma, alleges the Romani minority is "inactive" and "just anybody" speaks for them