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September 27, 2022



Czech mayor's remarks about shooting Romani people are a felony, but prosecutor has conditionally suspended prosecution because the perpetrator confessed and donated money

13.9.2022 6:50
Jaroslav Červinka (2022) (PHOTO:
Jaroslav Červinka (2022) (PHOTO:

According to the Czech Police, Mayor Jaroslav Červinka committed felony incitement to hate a group or limit its rights and freedoms when, during a local assembly session, he said it would be "better to shoot" Romani people. News server Aktuálně.cz has reported that the local prosecutor has conditionally suspended pressing charges because the mayor has admitted his deeds and made a donation of CZK 30,000 [EUR 1,223] to a fund to aid crime victims. 

The Mayor of Poděbrady made the remarks at issue during a June session of the local assembly, when he reminisced about having been sanctioned by the district authority more than two decades ago. He said the punishment was for remarks he made in the aftermath of a traffic accident in 2001 that allegedly had been caused by dogs allegedly owned by a Romani person. 

"... I then said my memorable sentence that it would be better to shoot them. The cop told me that they should not be shot, that the dogs could not help themselves, and I said I didn't mean it was the dogs who should be shot," he recounted.

The mayor subsequently apologized for his words. In July, when his remarks were made public, the Mladá Boleslav Police began to investigate the case.

"In this matter, on the basis of performing basic police work, detectives subsequently communicated to the 62-year-old man during a fast-tracked preliminary criminal proceeding that he was suspected of the offense of inciting others to hate a group or to limit its rights and freedoms," Vlasta Suchánková, spokesperson for the Central Bohemian Police, told news server Aktuálně.cz. 

The case file was subsequently transferred to the prosecutor in Nymburk, according to the news server, but the prosecutor then decided in mid-August to conditionally suspend the mayor's prosecution. "He particularly took into account the confession of the person involved, his previous lack of a criminal record, and his deposit of a financial sum, as determined by the state, for financial assistance to crime victims," the police spokesperson told Aktuálně.cz, information that was later confirmed by Nymburk Prosecutor Štěpán Brunclík.   

Červinka had originally led the candidate list for the "Mayors and Independents" (STAN) movement in the upcoming local elections, but after his racist remarks, the Nymburk district cell of STAN called on him to withdraw. The chair of the national movement, Vít Rakušan, who is also the Czech Interior Minister in the coalition government, said that if Červinka did not withdraw his candidacy for re-election he would be dismissed.  

The oversight board of the movement also filed a motion to halt Červinka's membership in STAN. In response, Červinka withdrew from the candidate list for STAN and created a new one called "Independent Candidates of Poděbrady".   

Members of another party in the coalition government, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) then joined that new list as well. The chair of the KDU-ČSL, Marian Jurečka, who is also the Czech Labor and Social Affairs Minister, said that while he condemns the anti-Romani remarks of the mayor, the local list is not one the party has any control over and it is the choice of their members how to compete for office locally.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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