Czech Police charge racist activist Adam B. Bartoš with crimes against humanity
On 29 April the Prague Police charged the chair of the ultra-right National Democracy group, Adam B. Bartoš, with three counts of crimes against humanity. Police say he has committed those crimes through the content of his book and other writings he has published, as well as through his public speeches.
In those works, Bartoš has allegedly incited hatred against immigrants and Jewish people. Tomáš Hulan, spokesperson for the Prague Police, announced through the police website that the charges had been filed.
Bartoš was arrested by police on Thursday afternoon. He spent the night in a cell for preliminary detention.
He was released at noon on Friday. Should he be convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.
Hulan said Bartoš is charged with committing the crimes of defamation of a nation and inciting hatred against a group. Allegedly he has also committed the crime of approving, denying, justifying or questioning genocide.
"Detectives performed a house search and a search of other spaces on the basis of a warrant issued by the relevant court during which they confiscated many publications, other writings and data storage devices. All of these tasks were performed in accordance with the law in the presence of an impartial person," Hulan's statement says.
The police spokesperson was responding to assertions made by National Democracy representatives who claimed the search by police officers had not been performed according to the law and that an impartial person had not been present at the time. Bartoš stated for the record during his arrest that he believes he is the victim of a "political trial ordered for political reasons".
His arrest, in his view, is "yet another attempt to damage the opposition, the only actual opposition to this system". He said he would make a further statement about the charges on Friday evening.
Police, according to Hulan, considered remanding Bartoš into custody pending trial. They ultimately did not do so because the racist activist allegedly promised not to continue his illegal behavior.
However, Bartoš then published a statement to Facebook saying he does not intend to back down and that he will continue his "struggle" together with others. "On Sunday, at our demonstration, I will naturally be present, even though I am all but unable to speak because if I do I will be automatically taken into custody. However, I do not intend to back down, we will keep fighting in our common struggle and WE WILL WIN!" he posted to Facebook.
The charges concern an incident in March of this year. Speaking at a demonstration against Islam in Prague, Bartoš called for giving politicians "the highest punishment" for the approach they were taking toward the issue of immigrants.
Police officers arrested and detained him as soon as he said those words. They then dispersed the demonstration.
Bartoš and the former vice-chair of National Democracy, Ladislav Zemánek, had both been sentenced in March to year-long suspended sentences for their actions last year at the grave site of Anežka Hrůzová, a girl who was murdered in 1899. The racist activists left a sign by her grave which included the following sentence: "The Jewish question has not yet been satisfactorily resolved."
A Jewish man, Leopold Hilsner, was charged with and convicted of Hrůzová's murder. The case prompted a wave of anti-Semitism throughout the region that came to be known as the Hilsner Affair.
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk aided Hilsner's appeal and refuted the superstitions presented as "evidence" during the trial. He later became the first President of Czechoslovakia.
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