Czech MP didn't see neo-Nazis at anti-Islamic demo, but Romea.cz did!
News server iDNES.cz reports that Czech MP Jana Černochová (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) is defending her participation at a demonstration at Prague Castle convened by a group called "We Don't Want Islam in the Czech Republic" by saying she didn't see any Nazis demonstrating with them. Reporters with news server Romea.cz, however, saw Vlastimil Pechanec with two friends at the demo; Pechanec was sentenced in 2003 to 17 years in prison for a racially motivated murder in the town of Svitavy.
Pechanec was released from prison last summer after serving almost 13 years of his sentence. He bragged about attending the anti-Islam demonstration on his Facebook profile, where he published several photographs of himself there.
One of the photographs shows him together with the chair of the "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit) movement, Tomio Okamura. The demonstration took place on 16 January.
The Czech News Agency reported that about 600 people participated in the demonstration. In addition to Okamura, they included Úsvit vice-chair Marek Černoch and the vice-chair of the ODS club in the lower house, Jana Černochová.
Pechanec's criminal record includes two suspended sentences, a two-year prison sentence and the 17-year prison sentence from which he was released early. That sentence was handed down in 2003 by the Prague High Court.
The length of the sentence was due to the racial motivation for the crime and to expert evaluations labeling Pechanec as someone whom it would be hard to reform. The widow of his victim, Otto Absolon, succumbed to cancer in the fall of 2002, leaving behind their two young children.
In August 1997, Pechanec stabbed another Romani man, Ladislav Pešta, on the right side of his chest in front of the post office in Svitavy. Doctors said it was a miracle that the victim survived.
Pechanec was sentenced to two years without the possibility of parole for that crime. A year prior to his assault on Pešta, the 17-year-old Pechanec was given a one-year suspended sentence for shouting racist slogans and beating up customers at a discotheque in the Brno area together with other assailants.
His other suspended sentence was for convening a racist march in Svitavy. During that march he threw rocks at Romani dwellings and demolished the interior of one.
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