Czech neo-Nazis on trial can't remember a thing
A group of 17 right-wing extremists on trial before the District Court in Brno-venkov is rejecting the charges filed against them of promoting Nazism and racism. They face up to eight years in prison if convicted.
The promotion allegedly took place in 2008 and 2009 during 14 concerts by racist bands throughout the country. The court had set aside three days to hear the defendants' testimony, but in the end it didn't even last two hours.
Most of the right-wing extremists refused to testify and the reading of the statements they originally gave to police was also very brief. They claim to remember nothing about the incidents concerned.
The trial was supposed to have lasted until tomorrow but has now been postponed until 19 March. The first stage of the trial had to take place at the Regional Court in Brno because it was the only building with a large enough courtroom, but the next stage will take place in a more intimate atmosphere in the District Court Brno-venkov's new courthouse. Most of the defendants have announced they will not attend the future hearings.
Statements given to police
When the defendants pleaded not guilty and refused to testify, the court had no other recourse than to read the statements they had previously given to the police into the record. The phrase most frequently repeated in their statements was "I don't remember".
Some of the defendants had attended a concert but could not remember what was played there, what they were wearing, whether people gave the Nazi salute there, or what the songs were about. One defendant who composed the music for a song criticized by the lawsuit couldn't recall its lyrics. Another musician admitted to playing, but couldn't recall what was sung and had only sketchy memories of the words "blood", "chain" and "skeleton".
Hatred, Nazism and racism
State prosecutor Milan Richter described in detail the content of all of the songs concerned during a four-hour reading of the 90-page indictment. The pieces "We Remain Faithful" (Věrni zůstaneme) and "Nice Gentleman" (Hodný pán) lauded Adolf Hitlera and his birthday. The songs "Short Trial" (Krátký proces) and "Die" (Chcípni) describe how extremists "whirl around" with dark-skinned people. "Memory" (Vzpomínka) lauds the deceased founder of the international neo-Nazi organization Blood & Honour, Ian Stuart Donaldson.
The songs are full of hatred against Jewish people, dark-skinned people, communists and representatives of the left. They commemorate the German Nazi Party (the NSDAP) and the execution of 500 people in the Petržalka quarter of Bratislava in 1945. They speak of "Zionist enemies" who must be crushed and of how the famous human rights fighter Nelson Mandela should be hanged.
Musicians on trial
The defendants include Pavel Blinka of the band Devils Guard, Michal Moravec and Kamil Víta of the band Imperium, and Vilém Farkač of Attack. Dragan Petrović, a member of the Serbian branch of the militant neo-Nazi Blood & Honour organization, will also be tried here in the Czech Republic. The other defendants are people who sold CDs of extremist bands from the Czech Republic and all over Europe, clothing, and stickers with Nazi symbols at the concerts.
The trial will continue next month and will proceed with breaks until May. It is not yet known when the verdict will be handed down. The original group of defendants was to have had 18 members, but one man did not appear in court today. His case will be heard separately.
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