Czech MP faces first criminal charges over remarks about Lety concentration camp
The first criminal charges have been filed against Czech MP Tomio Okamura, chair of the "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit) movement, for his remarks about the former so-called "gypsy camp" at Lety by Písek. The charges were filed by Šimon Heller (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL), who believes Okamura has committed the felony of denying the Nazis' crimes against humanity.
News server Romea.cz has learned that several members of the Romani community are also planning to file their own charges. "Today, 5 August 2014, I filed criminal charges with the District State Prosecutor in České Budějovice against Tomio Okamura, a Member of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and chair of the Úsvit movement," Heller posted to his blog.
Heller is running for the position of city council member in České Budějovice this fall. He believes Okamura's remarks obviously violated Act No. 40/2009 Coll., paragraph 405.
Klára Kalibová, a lawyer with the In IUSTITIA organization, is of the same opinion. "Tomio Okamura has probably committed a felony under section 405, that of denying, casting doubt on, approving or justifying a genocide. Whoever publicly denies, casts doubt on, approves or attempts to justify a genocide, whether committed by the Communists, the Nazis, or anyone else, or who makes such an attempt regarding the other crimes against humanity committed by the Communists or the Nazis shall be punished with a prison term of anywhere between six months and three years," she told news server Romea.cz.
Heller said Okamura has denied the historical facts of what the living conditions in the Lety concentration camp were like, as well as the fact that the victims were held there against their will. The prisoners were subjected against their will to conditions that many of them did not survive, which means they were effectively killed.
Okamura, despite the existence of these historical facts and testimonies, has claimed the opposite, that "No one was was ever killed in the camp", and to do so violates the law because it constitutes a denial of Nazi crimes. He is now beginning to find himself in political isolation, as several politicians are refusing to meet with him.
"Personally speaking, I will never shake hands with Okamura (and he's always the first one to assertively stick out his hand despite the rules of social behavior), I wouldn't want to sit at the same table with him and in general I intend to give him a wide berth," Czech Senator Eliška Wagnerová, who is a former Constitutional Court judge, told news server Deník Referendum. Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier also previously said he is unwilling to discuss anything with the MP, who made his incriminating remarks in an interview for the political tabloid "Parlamentní listy" on the eve of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
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