Czech lower courts consider online comment calling for asylum-seekers to be set on fire a misdemeanor, Supreme Court to rule now
Supreme State Prosecutor Pavel Zeman is insisting that the woman who posted on Facebook that a bus carrying asylum-seekers be set on fire should be punished by the courts for having committed a felony. The lower courts in Plzeň have sent the case to the local authority for handling as a misdemeanor.
According to Zeman, the remarks obviously meet the definition of felony incitement to hatred of a group. He has therefore appealed to the Czech Supreme Court and the Czech News Agency has seen the content of that appeal.
In February the woman posted the comments on Facebook in response to a news item including video footage about asylum-seeking families, found inside of container trucks among the goods being transported, who were subsequently put on buses. "Now we're going to pay for them... why didn't they just set those buses on fire instead?" she posted before continuing to defend the disgust she feels toward migrants in the online discussion.
"It is difficult to imagine a clearer demonstration of hatred than expressing the desire for the brutal physical destruction of a specifically-described group of individuals," the Supreme Prosecutor wrote in his appeal. Such expressions, according to him, are not protected in a democratic society under freedom of speech because they absolutely degrade the human dignity of the group of people discussed.
In May the Plzeň-město District Court sent the case to the misdemeanor commission of the Office of the Plzeň 3 Municipal Department. The court said the societal noxiousness of the woman's action was low, referring to the fact that the woman had no criminal record and is allegedly not associated with the extremist environment.
A complaint over that decision from the State Prosecutor was rejected by the Regional Court in Plzeň, according to whom the woman had not urged anybody directly to set the buses on fire. The Regional Court said that demonstrating hatred is not the same thing as inciting it.
The Supreme State Prosecutor disagrees with the lower courts' opinions. He referenced the exceptional intensity of the hatred in the Facebook commentary.
"Not every demonstration of hatred toward a group of persons must necessarily incite hatred, but hatred of the intensity that the accused displayed, in which she wished the migrants would be set on fire, in and of itself incites others to hatred," the prosecutor's appeal reads. He also said it would only be possible not to hold the accused criminally liable if her remarks had been made under absolutely exceptional circumstances.
The woman's commentary, according to the prosecutor, did not show any signs of deserving extraordinary treatment. "There is nothing to indicate that the legislators may have wanted to exclude cases from prosecution in the criminal courts that involve a perpetrator inciting the burning of migrants on buses through online social networks," his appeal reads.
- Czech tabloid will not be inviting ultra-right party representatives to its online debates
- Czech Police refute rumors that defecation in public pool was done by Roma - defamatory article sparked a racist wave online
- Italy asks Czech Republic to receive asylum-seekers, Czech PM refuses
- Czech politician spreads hateful racist hoaxes online against dark-skinned footballers, Muslims and Roma
- Czech Police charge young woman over hateful online speech against first-graders
- Czech Supreme Court overturns acquittal on publication of Hitler's speeches, wants more evidence
- Czech court rules activists did not enrich themselves by using abandoned building, state may go to Supreme Court
- Czech Supreme Court closes case of vote-buying at Romani housing estate, public interest of secret recording was key
- Ukraine: Third arson attack against Roma in a month, firearms also used against 7 adults, 30+ children
- Canada grants asylum to former MEP who faced death threats in Hungary due to her Romani origin
- Czech Republic: Apartment building on fire in Romani neighborhood, 20 injured, including children
- New Zealand grants asylum to family from Czech Republic with non-Romani and Romani members because of neo-Nazi death threats
- Czech Supreme Court upholds sentencing for neo-Nazi who attempted to burn 18 Romani people, eight of them children, to death
- Germany: Trial begins of right-wing extremists who used Czech fireworks to make bombs
- Central and East European NGOs critique EU Member States barring asylum-seekers
- France: Attack with firearms and Molotov cocktails against Roma over two nights - seven hospitalized, including a teenager
- Assistant to Czech MP fined for calling for migrants to be shot, he may appeal
- Commentary: The Czech and Slovak Romani community on the battlefield that is Facebook
- Czech MP publishes long-refuted fake video purporting to show "refugees" attacking a police vehicle
- Czech expatriate Romani community in the UK targeted by social media hoaxes to create demand to leave because of COVID-19
- Czech MEPs welcome European Commission lawsuit against Austria over different allowances for non-expatriate children of EU workers
- Czech Supreme Administrative Court upholds homeless Romani family's appeal of eviction, returns case to Regional Court
- Czech Foreign Affairs Minister tells ROMEA TV that Brexit and COVID-19 are causing problems for UK residents hoping to return
- Romani children in the Czech Republic still frequently assessed as mentally disabled and educated separately
- Romani man from the Czech Republic living in England launches Facebook challenge to aid homeless people, other Roma in Europe respond
- European experts say hatred online endangers democracy, nonprofits are monitoring social media response to it
- Roma are most frequently targeted by hatred on the Czech Internet, experts say the law applies online too
- Scottish court convicts traffickers of exploiting young women