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September 27, 2022



Czech man sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for one year, for assaulting Romani boy, but racial motivation is ignored

18.9.2021 16:19
--ilustrační foto--
--ilustrační foto--

A district court in the Czech Republic has ordered the sentencing of 47-year-old man who assaulted a hearing-impaired Romani boy to three months in prison. The serving of the sentence has been conditionally suspended for a trial period of one year.

The perpetrator has not contested the decision, which has taken effect. The In IUSTITIA organization, which represented the victim, has reported the news.

The boy was attending a camp for children last summer that was run by the People in Need organization. He got into an argument with a female friend in front of the dining hall at the campground. 

The argument was overhead by a 47-year-old man with a criminal record who happened to be at the same facility with his family on their own summertime trip. He approached the boy, shouted at him to stop yelling, and called him "black trash". 

The assailant went beyond just racially abusing the boy, striking him with his palm on his face and left ear. The force of the blow knocked the boy to the ground, where he burst into tears, and his hearing aid fell out of one ear.

The boy had to be taken to hospital, where it was determined he had suffered a concussion and abrasions on one arm. "The police categorized the attack as the commission of a misdemeanor and referred it to the local authority, which in our opinion was absolutely incorrect. However, we did not accept that and we asked the prosecutor to review the approach taken by the police," Barbora Davidová, a lawyer with In IUSTITIA, said.  

The local prosecutor's office agreed with their motion and acknowledged that the investigation performed by the police had been absolutely inadequate. Prosecutors ordered police to complete their investigation and, in light of more evidence, to reassess the perpetrator's assault.

The police subsequently issued a resolution to prosecute and an indictment was filed. "We arranged for the injured party to be questioned by a police officer who was trained in how to conduct such cases in a special interrogation room. By taking that approach, we were advocating for the boy's contact with the police to be as easy as possible," said Martina Toušková, an advisor for victims who works with In IUSTITIA. 

A local court then decided, by issuing an order, that the perpetrator had committed felony rioting per Section 358 para. 1 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to three months in prison. The serving of the sentence was then conditionally postponed for a trial period of one year.

The defendant did not object to the decision, which has since taken effect. "The court's decision unfortunately did not work with the racial motivation for the attack and the injured party was not compensated, or rather, the injured party was instructed to undertake a civil suit for compensation. Be that as it may, we are glad that, thanks to our work, the assault was recategorized from a misdemeanor to a felony, which we consider a big success," the lawyer said.  

In IUSTITIA was established with the aims of making the issue of bias-motivated violence (also called hate crime) a subject of debate among both lay people and professionals, of providing legal aid to victims or witnesses of violent incidents, of optimizing the practice of the public administration (with regard to the law on assembly and the approaches taken by criminal justice authorities), and of working in partnership with the media and other organizations interested in these issues. The organization's current mission is to arrange for legal information, legal representation and social services to be provided to persons affected by bias-motivated violence, as well as to prevent bias violence and displays of intolerance, especially ableism, age-based violence, antisemitism, gender-based violence, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, social status-based violence, subculture-based violence, and transphobia.   

The organization is also involved in providing legal information and social services to particularly vulnerable victims and to homeless women (or those at risk of homelessness) who are endangered by violence or have become the victims of any kind of violence. In addition to providing such services, the organization's mission is also to educate lay people and professionals, to implement research activities to benefit crime victims, and last but not least, to comprehensively monitor and analyze bias violence on Czech territory. 

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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