Czech Police charge senior citizen, a fanatical supporter of xenophobic politician, with terrorism
The High State Prosecutor in Prague has charged a man with committing a terrorist assault and threatening a terrorist crime for allegedly chopping down trees on two separate occasions so that they fell across a railway line, according to detectives. Supervising state prosecutor Martin Bílý provided the information in response to a query from the Czech News Agency.
The charges concern both the danger posed by the full-grown trees lying across railway lines in the Mladá Boleslav area and the dissemination of threatening fliers in which the perpetrator pretended to be a jihadi planning assaults on Czech citizens. The trees caused train crashes in June and July of last year.
The first crash happened on the track between Bakov nad Jizerou and Mladá Boleslav, while the second happened between the stations of Bělá pod Bezdězem and Bezděz. Nobody was injured as a result.
The National Anti-Organized Crime Center began the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator in February. "The accused is a native Czech citizen whose motivation was an attempt to spark fear among the population about a migration wave of Muslims and the perpetration of terrorist assaults," the prosecutor said in a press release at the time.
The man has been in custody since the beginning of the prosecution after being remanded there by the District Court in Mladá Boleslav and is still behind bars. News server Lidovky.cz previously reported that the accused is 70 years old.
According to news server Aktuálně.cz, the pensioner is a fanatical supporter of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement of Tomio Okamura. Before allegedly aiming his hatred against Muslim refugees, the man was known for verbally assailing Romani people.
During elections to the lower house the accused drew attention to himself through his calls for support for Okamura and the SPD, posting an image of Okamura on his car and on the facade of his house. "It was like getting punched in the eye when that green car with Okamura on the doors drove past," Radim Šimáně, the Mayor of Bakov nad Jizerou, previously described the accused.
"He was really enthusiastic. He was the only person [around here] who made it clear whom he supported in the election," the mayor said.
According to the Czech Criminal Code, anybody who intentionally intimidates the population in a serious way has committed a terrorist assault. The code refers to "placing people in general danger of death or serious bodily harm, or the property of others in danger of damage on a massive scale," for example, by causing an explosion, a fire, or committing other seriously dangerous behavior.
Should the accused be found guilty he faces between five and 15 years in prison. The case will be heard by the Central Bohemian Regional Court.
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