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Czech NGO: Court has failed shamefully in case of death threats against Romani singer

30.8.2017 7:40
Fans of the xenophobic Ortel band sent death threats to Romani singer Radek Banga in 2016. (Collage:  Romea.cz)
Fans of the xenophobic Ortel band sent death threats to Romani singer Radek Banga in 2016. (Collage: Romea.cz)

News server Romea.cz is publishing here in full translation the entire statement by the In IUSTITIA organization about the recent verdict from the District Court in Kladno in the matter of the mass social media attack on Romani singer Radek Banga last year. On 24 August the court sentenced one person, David Šmíd, to perform 100 hours of community service work as punishment for making death threats.

Banga used his Facebook profile to publish a protest against the fact that the xenophobic Ortel band won an award in the "Golden Nightingale" popular music competition last year, and Šmíd is one of the 56 people who posted hateful, threatening content in response. Those posting threatened Banga and others with death.

Statement by In IUSTITIA on the Šmíd verdict

We are publishing our statement on today's verdict from the District Court in Kladno which has found guilty, for now, just a single perpetrator of the mass attack on Radek Banga through online social networks last November. In IUSTITIA is representing Mr Banga as his attorney.

The District Court in Kladno has flagrantly violated the victim's rights. Basically, in contravention of the law, the court has deprived him of his right to due process, as he was never sent information about the proceedings, never summoned to the hearing, and never given a chance to express his view of the matter.

Now the court is doing its best to justify its behavior by alleging that Mr Banga - whose personal profile was the place where the perpetrator posted his threat against Romani and Jewish people - is not a victim in this matter. If this peculiar legal opinion were to be considered valid, it would mean the Czech legal system has absolutely given up on an interpretation of the law that aims to protect both the legal interests of individuals and the public interest.

In this case, a generally-worded threat was unequivocally aimed at this particular victim, harming him and constituting a violation of his right to personality. The right to an effective investigation, as it has been adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights, includes the right of specific individuals to see that the perpetrators of criminal activity are punished for what they have actually done.

A generally-worded threat aimed at a specific person meets the definition of felony violence against a group and its individual members. The victim now has no other recourse but to file a constitutional complaint, which offers an opportunity to redress this violation of his right to due process.

In general, this case is the shame of the entire Czech legal system. Of the dozens of suspects who committed this behavior, the police were able to charge just two.

This case is being addressed without any methodological guidance whatsoever. The rights of the victim have been violated the entire time.

Most of the perpetrators will escape unpunished and the public will believe that death threats and stalking through online social networks are normal. The public interest in punishing people who threaten their fellow human beings with death, with gas chambers, or with bodily harm, and who do so through online social networks is, at this time, demonstrably not a commonly-held interest of the criminal justice authorities here.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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In IUSTITIA, Racism, Radek Banga, Sociální sítě, Soud



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