Czech Police arrest 24 in raid against neo-Nazis, including a Serbian national
Robert Šlachta, head of the Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu - ÚOOZ) told ČTK that police arrested 24 people during yesterday’s raid against members of the extreme right suspected of supporting and promoting movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. Šlachta rejected speculation that the raid had been ordered politically.
"Police officers from the ÚOOZ ... with the agreement of the supervising state attorneys, performed a series of house searches in several places around the country as part of three separate criminal proceedings,” Šlachta said. He emphasized that the raid had “no connection with any proceedings before the Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic". This court is set to review a government proposal to abolish the extreme-right Workers’ Party in the near future. Yesterday, Workers’ Party chair Tomáš Vandas labeled the police raid a “desperate attempt” to find evidence of illegal behavior by the party’s members and sympathizers.
Last night at around 23:00 police released two women who had been arrested during the raid without charging them, their attorney Kolja Kubíček told ČTK. The women had been interrogated, but the suspicions of their involvement were not enough to charge them with any crimes; Kubíček said the suspicions were fabricated.
As Romea.cz reported yesterday, police arrested a group of neo-Nazi women allegedly due to their membership in the Czech organization Resistance Women Unity (RWU). The group’s mission is to strengthen opposition to a system which in their view is “targeted against the long-term survival of white families”. RWU representatives regularly speak at public neo-Nazi gatherings.
As many as 100 neo-Nazis protested the police raid yesterday evening in front of the Office of the Government and the police headquarters in Bartolomějská street, where several of those arrested were taken. Tomorrow the police will hold a press conference at which they will release more details. ROMEA TV will broadcast coverage of the conference.
ČTK reported yesterday that leading Serbian neo-Nazi Dragan Petrović is among those arrested. According to Ondřej Cakl of Tolerance a občanská společnost (Tolerance and Civil Society), which has long monitored the ultra-right scene, Petrović is the head of the Serbian branch of the militant international neo-Nazi organization Blood and Honor. The server iDNES.cz reported yesterday that Petrovic has been living for some time in Prague but was arrested at the Vltava housing estate in České Budějovice, where 10 police officers raided an apartment yesterday morning. Police also confiscated several bags of unknown material from the apartment.
At 5:30 AM yesterday a commando unit raided the home of 30-year-old Kamil Víta, guitarist for the neo-Nazi group Imperium, a White Power group, according to Cakl. Víta’s girlfriend said masked men yelling “police” busted through the door of the apartment looking for neo-Nazi materials and confiscated a computer. "He would go to a concert from time to time,” the woman told the daily paper MF DNES. Josef Šedina was another White Power musician arrested, according to Cakl.
Romea.cz has been informed that a house search was also conducted in the Prague apartment of Jíří Bárta, chair of the Workers’ Party section in Vlašim. Police were primarily interested in his girlfriend, Eva Bittmanová; they did not arrest Bárta, but had him sign a protocol at the station. When asked why the police conducted a search of his home, Bárta said he did not know. In mid-August, Bárta organized a meeting of extreme-right adherents in Nový Knín. The government motion to dissolve the Workers’ Party names him as a representative of National Resistance.
Police also searched the apartment of another Workers’ Party leader, Patrik Vondrák, whom they arrested. Jiří Bárta confirmed the arrest to ČTK and said police had a warrant for Vondrák. Workers’ Youth vice-chair Matyáš Sombati is also said to have been arrested. Workers’ Party chair Tomáš Vandas said Sombati’s computer, including a database of Workers’ Youth members, was confiscated, as were other personal effects. The on-line daily TÝDEN.CZ reported yesterday that the police searches evidently also concerned people who actively participated in the protests at the Janov housing estate in Litvínov last year.
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