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Czech Justice Minister wants judge whose writing insults gays, refugees and Roma to resign

3.2.2016 18:38
Robert Pelikán (PHOTO: www.online.muni.cz)
Robert Pelikán (PHOTO: www.online.muni.cz)

News server Aktuálně.cz reports that Miloš Zbránek, a judge with the Liberec branch of the Ústí nad Labem Regional Court, is facing disciplinary action over articles he has authored and published online in which he has criticized Czech Public Defender of Rights Anna Šabatová, ethnic minorities, gay people and refugees. Zbránek considers his writings to be satire.

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán (ANO), however, believes Zbránek should resign. In one of the articles, for example, the judge insults Romani people.

"Among [the prospective tenants] first interested there was a certain Horváthová. I won't hide anything, she was a Gypsy and I had already seen a couple of apartments occupied by Gypsies during my lifetime. Somehow I gave her a stupid excuse, saying it was already taken or whatever, and I kept showing the apartment to other prospective tenants. Unfortunately, it turned out that among those others there was an agent for Anna Defendrix, who heads that office in Brno, and that first Gypsy woman had also been her paid informer. Anna Defendrix filed a lawsuit against me in the public interest. She explained that I do not have the right to accommodate the kind of tenant that I want in my own apartment and that if Gypsy tenants ask me if they can rent it, I have to rent it to them, otherwise I am discriminating and violating their human rights. I paid agent Horváthová CZK 100 000 in compensation and concluded a lease with her," that article reads.

"Her family receives visitors frequently. In addition to the mail carrier, who brough them their standard welfare, they are always visited on Monday by IQ Roma servis with money for education, on Tuesday by Romodrom with money for social rehabilitation, on Wednesday by the Roma Alliance with money for culture, on Thursday by the Roma Athletic Federation with money for sports, and on Friday by the Agency for Inclusion, which brings them job offers. Those people don't get very far with them. The Horváth family remains unemployed, but I love that Agency. They employ Ukrainian cleaning women to clean the Horváth's apartment and on those occasions they also clean up the common corridor. The Horváths don't clean themselves because most of them are on disability - their backs hurt. On Saturdays Mr Desider Lakatoš, the loan shark, takes all that money to pay down the interest on what they owe him," the article continues.

Zbránek has previously been reproached over his articles but has not stopped publishing them. "When I learned in the fall that he is continuing his publication activity - with a slightly different focus, but still crossing the line of judicial ethics, in my opinion - I took the step of filing a motion for him to be disciplined. In that motion I proposed that the disciplinary panel dock his pay," presiding Judge Luboš Dörfl told Aktuálně.cz.

Dörfl believes Zbránek has compromised the dignity of the office of a judge and has endangered the court's independent decision making. Zbránek defends himself, for example, by claiming to have never mentioned what his profession is in his writings.

"I maintain that I can generally write articles, especially satirical ones, as long as I do not mention my position in them," he said. The server that publishes the articles, however, has pointed out that at least one of his online pieces includes his legal education and profession as a judge in the accompanying bio.

Czech Justice Minister Pelikán has read the articles and believes some of them are also homophobic and Islamophobic. He considers it unacceptable for a judge to express himself in such terms.

Pelikán believes judges must ensure that they never give cause for concern about their possibly being biased and that any appearances they make in the media must conform to that aim. "Should a member of one of the minority groups this judge has attacked come before him in court, the feeling will always persist that the minority member did not get a fair trial and that the judge was biased against him," the minister said.  

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Internet, Racism, Soud, Stereotypy



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