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September 21, 2021



Czech lower house to decide whether to lift MP's immunity for doubting Holocaust victims who are Romani next month

26.1.2019 11:05
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO:  Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)
Miloslav Rozner (PHOTO: Pirate Party, Wikimedia Commons)

The Czech Chamber of Deputies will apprently decide next month whether to lift the immunity on prosecution for MP Miloslav Rozner ("Freedom and Direct Democracy" - SPD). Police want to charge him because of remarks he made about the former WWII-era concentration camp for Roma at Lety u Písku.

The Immunity and Mandate Committee of the lower house will continue to discuss the police request on 5 February, according to an invitation to attend the proceedings. Originally it was assumed the committee would convene its session this month.

The discussion could extend into the committee session on 12 February. The chair of the committee, MP Stanislav Grospič (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - KSČM) told the Czech News Agency on 22 January that the committee anticipates "cooperation from the criminal justice authorities and the supervising prosecutor."

Committee members want to question detectives involved in the case as well as the district attorney for Prague 4 and representatives of the state attorney's office for the City of Prague as a whole. The delay in reviewing the request was caused, according to information given to the Czech News Agency, by the fact that the committee requested prosecutors be relieved of their obligation to maintain confidentiality about the investigation, which the committee requested in mid-December and which took longer to approve than expected.

When criticizing the decision by the previous Government to buy out the industrial pig farm near the currently-existing remembrance site at Lety, Rozner used the phrase "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp" to describe the facility that played a role in the genocide of the Roma during the war. Several criminal reports were immediately filed against him and against the chair of the SPD, MP Tomio Okamura, who made similar remarks.

The police now want Rozner prosecuted on suspicion of denying, doubting, approving of and justifying genocide. In the beginning, however, they shelved the criminal reports.

Prosecutors returned the report to police for re-investigation. For that reason, the committee wants to question both prosecutors involved.

Room for expressing his opinion will also be given to Rozner. The SPD movement previously criticized procedural aspects of the official scrutiny, alleging that the prosecutor's intervention shows signs of "activism" and raising questions about the objectivity of the investigation.

According to the SPD, Rozner has not doubted that people suffered in the camp but, in accordance with the SPD's general opinion, has cast doubt on what it calls the "expenditure of astronomical sums to buy the farm". According to historians, the camp at Lety was first created in 1940 as a disciplinary labor camp for men unable to document their income.

Men living itinerantly were also meant to be interned in the camp. In 1942 the camp was changed into an internment camp for Romani people.

According to the documentary record, 1 308 Romani children, men and women passed through the camp, 327 of whom died there and more than 500 of whom ended up in Auschwitz. The Nazis are estimated by experts to have murdered 90 % of the Roma in Bohemia and Moravia.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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