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November 16, 2019
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Czech lower house decides not to strip MP of immunity over his remarks denying the Holocaust of the Roma

14.3.2019 9:48
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO:  Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO: Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)

Yesterday the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament decided not to surrender MP Miloslav Rozner ("Freedom and Direct Democracy" - SPD) for prosecution because of the remark he made about Lety - the site of the imprisonment of more than a thousand Romani people prior to their deportation to Auschwitz - having been a "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp". Police officers will not be able to charge Rozner until after he leaves office.

The MP asserts that he has never doubted the suffering that happened during the time of the Nazi occupation. Rozner is said to have used those words in reference to the cost of buying out the industrial pig farm that occupied the site of the former camp, which he considers to have been exorbitant.

"The suffering has been exploited in order to expend enormous amounts of money on a project that does not deserve it in comparison to other locations where we have not yet managed to commemorate that suffering," he said in his opening remarks, which were applauded by MP Tomio Okamura, the SPD leader who was also chairing the session. MP Ivan Bartoš (Piráti - Pirates) then reminded the lower house that his party had organized a seminar about the Holocaust of the Roma at the beginning of the year in the Chamber of Deputies and that Rozner had not attended despite having been invited.

"I expected at least that elementary step, that he would show up," Bartoš said, emphasizing that Rozner has never apologized for his remarks. Several other MPs immediately called on him to apologize during the session, but he did not.

Of the 155 MPs present, 42 voted in favor of stripping him of his immunity, while 88 voted against it (there were more than 20 abstentions). Rozner used the phrase "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp" when criticizing the decision by the previous coalition Government of the Association of Dissatisfied Citizens (ANO), the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) to buy out the industrial pig farm, which is located near the existing memorial at Lety and the smell from which has desecrated commemorations for decades.

Several criminal reports against Rozner were immediately filed with police, who initially shelved the case. The supervising state prosecutor then returned the case to the district state prosecutor and detectives for further investigation because she disagreed with that conclusion.

Officers now want to prosecute Rozner on suspicion of denying, doubting, approving of and justifying genocide. The Immunity Committee in the lower house did not recommend surrendering the MP, given that it had not recommended doing so for similar cases previously.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Holocaust, Lety u Písku, Poslanecká sněmovna, Svoboda a přímá demokracie (SPD)



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