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Czech lower house approves residency ban for misdemeanors

ROMEA, 19.12.2012 17:23, (ROMEA)
Ivana Řápková
Ivana Řápková

News server iDNES.cz reports that local authorities in the Czech Republic will now be able to ban people from residency for up to three months as a punishment for selected repeated misdemeanors. The lower house overturned a previous veto of the bill by Czech President Václav Klaus today. Klaus called the bill, initiated by Czech MP Ivana Řápková (Civic Democrats - ODS), rash, obviously populist, and possibly unconstitutional.

A total of 101 MPs voted for the bill. Those in favor were from ODS, TOP 09, LIDEM and a few MPs from the Věcí veřejných (Public Affairs - VV) party. Almost all of the MPs in the Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD) and Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM) voted against it.

The bill introduces the option for a municipality to ban residency on its territory for up to three months for anyone who repeatedly commits one of a particular set of misdemeanors. The rule concerns non-resident perpetrators, not people who are permanent residents of the municipality, and applies to repeated petty theft, disturbing nighttime quiet, or soliciting prostitution in a public space. A misdemeanor would count as repeated if it were committed within 12 months of the first perpetration.

The bill has undergone a convoluted fate in the legislative process. The Government first rejected it in March, saying the ban on residency was too harsh a punishment. The lower house then approved it and sent it to the Senate. The upper chamber rejected the bill and returned it to the MPs, who overturned the Senate veto. Klaus then returned the bill to the lower house in July.

"In the context of Czech law, I consider the punishment of banning residency for a mere misdemeanor to be disproportionate. The specific regulations of this bill are rash and do not correspond to the drafters' declared intentions," the Czech President said. In his view the norm is obviously populist, rash, easily exploitable and possibly anti-constitutional. Several MPs, such as Kateřina Klasnová (VV), have warned against the unconstitutionality of this bill.

During the debate in parliament Klasnová said that "if this law is pushed through the whole Chamber of Deputies it will very probably be struck down by the Constitutional Court". The bill has been criticized by ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský and the Czech Helsinki Committee.

A link to the comments made by various MPs during discussion of the bill can be found here (in Czech only): http://www.psp.cz/eknih/2010ps/stenprot/049schuz/49-9.html#797 . The tally of how MPs voted is here (in Czech only): http://www.psp.cz/sqw/hlasy.sqw?g=57161 .

fk, voj, iDNES.cz
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Aktuality, Bezpečnost, Ivana Řápková, Lidská práva, Ombudsman, Czech republic, news, Populism, Komunální



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