Czech Police charge author of antigypsyist article about arson for that and other offenses
The Czech Police have charged a 41-year-old man with extremism because of a racist article he authored about a tragic blaze in the town of Bohumín and other pieces published on the Vlastenecké noviny ("Patriotic News") server. They announced the charges on Twitter.
On 8 August, 11 people, several of them children, died during the fire in a prefabricated apartment building in Bohumín (Karvina district). The article reported that both the alleged perpetrator of the arson and the victims were Romani and used terms like "parasites" to describe the dead.
The article was published on the Vlastenecké noviny ("Patriotic News") server on the day after the fire. In fact, not all of the victims were Romani, and the perpetrator was also not Romani, but the news server used the term "cikáni" to write about the deceased.
Police subsequently confirmed that they were investigating the racist article. The charges, according to a statement from police yesterday, are not just about the piece on the arson attack, but about other offenses that the officiers have not yet detailed to the public.
"This man began committing criminal activity midway through last year," a police official by the last name of Řezníček said of the charges. According to him, the suspect has expressed his views about a variety of incidents.
"He proceeded in a very sophisticated way. He changed initials and names. He also took advantage of social media to disseminate his texts," the officer said, adding that it was exactly that evasive behavior that had complicated the investigation for detectives.
"There are dozens of instances of this man expressing himself in a derogatory way about events in the world or in the Czech Republic. For example, he has expressed approval when people have died. In his writings he has even made threats against state authorities, police officers, or members of the Government," Řezníček said.
Police have charged the suspect with four felonies: defamation, incitement, making threats intended to influence a public agency and making threats intended to influence a public official. During a search of the suspect's home, officers confiscated a large number of writings.
All of the material will be assessed to see, for example, whether those writings involve extremist content. According to news server Manipulátoři.cz, racist and xenophobic articles have been repeatedly published on the news server where this particular piece was featured.
"While many other disinformation websites just republish content from the channels for official propaganda from Russia, such as Russia Today or Sputnik, Vlastenecké noviny constantly produces an enormous amount of its own original content. These are usually the most explicit manifestations of hatred, racism and xenophobia that it is possible to find on the Czech Internet," Manipulátoři.cz says of the website in question.
The publisher of the news server is Česká expedice, a publishing house and distributor operated by a company called Centrální informační agenturou, z. s., headquartered in Ostrava. The main figure behind the website and the director of the agency is named Radek Velička.
Police did not say whether the person charged is Velička, although his age is the same as that of the suspect. The article published on Vlastenecké noviny was not the only racist response to the Bohumín tragedy on the Czech Internet.
Racist commentaries began to appear beneath mainstream news server articles reporting on the tragic events after some news servers erroneously reported the perpetrator was Romani. The vice-chair of the Pirate Party, Olga Richterová, and the ROMEA organization jointly filed crime reports over some of them.
- Czech NGO ROMEA and vice-chair of Pirates file criminal report over online racist commentaries about arson in Bohumín
- 11 deaths in fire, worst such death toll since 1990, met with antigypsyist celebration by Czech Internet
- European Commission President calls on EU Member States to combat discrimination against Romani people
- Romani activists called on Czech mayors to fly the Romani flag for 2 August, some of their refusals were textbook racism
- Czech MP who said she "understood" racist death threats against Romani and other non-white children switches parties
- Czech local politicians hold stormy meeting with non-Romani and Romani residents where long-refuted antigypsyist hoaxes and stereotypes resurface
- Facebook says it may disallow pages of far-right Czech party and its leaders
- Czech police use dehumanizing terms if incidents involve Romani people, the media parrot them - and then pogroms begin
- Czech lower house to change leadership, the president and one vice-president will be women, ultranationalist welfare chauvinist is out
- Czech court hands down seven suspended sentences against members of neo-Nazi group after trial that lasted 11 years
- Czech Supreme Court upholds sentence for hate posted about non-white first-graders: Not a joke, but the promotion of Nazism
- Czech Police prosecuting one of the men who assaulted Romani people in Sokolov this summer, Internal Affairs says officers' procedure was correct
- Czech MP Okamura (SPD) to lose lower house vice-chair post because of his hatemongering, according to Civic Democratic Party member
- Polish Police investigating antisemitic graffiti at Auschwitz Memorial
- Czech Police charge two men over video in which one threatens to stab politician
- Czech man sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for one year, for assaulting Romani boy, but racial motivation is ignored
- Jaroslav Miko: Romani voters must cast their ballots for a democratic coalition, otherwise anti-Romani extremists may get into government
- Romani associations distance themselves from community member who apparently expressed desire to attack Czech politician
- Mayor and police in Czech town correct the record about assault incident to make clear Romani people were not involved as first alleged
- Czech moderator cuts short interview with party chair who refuses to distance herself from anti-Jewish texts