Czech Police charge six after nationwide raid against extremists, three now in custody
A court has remanded into custody three of the six people charged by police in connection with their nationwide raid against extremism on Tuesday. Štěpánka Zenklová, the spokesperson for the State Prosecutor's office in Prague, which is supervising the maneuvers, told the Czech News Agency that she will not be able to provide details about the legal qualification of the crimes involved until the investigation is completed.
"The court has granted the state attorney's motion and remanded three persons into custody," Zenklová said, adding that more information will be available in two weeks at the earliest. "The investigation is still underway, a total of six persons will be charged.".
Explosives found in Brno
During Tuesday's raid police found an extremely dangerous device in the municipal department of Brno-Královo Pole. Pavel Hanták, spokesperson for the Organized Crime Detection Unit, confirmed the discovery to the Czech News Agency.
Officers reportedly discovered an improvised explosive device inside a particular unit of an apartment building. News server Novinky.cz reports that it was a pipe bomb.
Police evacuated four people from the building who spent the next five hours with family or friends before being permitted to return home five hours later, at 16:00. That same evening, detectives raided the Ateneo Community Center in the town of Most on the other side of the country.
Police technicians said the device discovered in Brno was dangerous, so police took security precautions to deal with it. Hanták did not want to specify what those operations were and referred journalists to the State Prosecutor's office in Prague.
Police closed off access to the scene of the discovery near Herčíkova and Srbská Streets in the Královo Pole neighborhood. "I can only confirm that we did evacuate four people from the apartments located near one of the entrances to the building," Petra Vedrová, spokesperson for the South Moravian Regional Police, told the Czech News Agency.
The spokesperson for South Moravian Fire and Rescue refused to comment on the raid. South Moravian Governor Michal Hašek (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) posted to his Facebook profile on Tuesday at noon the information that the Integrated Security System leadership had informed him that police had found an improvised explosive device in Brno that day.
The Governor noted in the post that South Moravian Regional emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and police officers were at the scene. Police patrols guarded the streets of the neighborhood.
The intervention by police pyrotechnicians lasted several hours. Police have not yet officially reported the specifics of what was found in the apartment or how dangerous it was.
TV NOVA: Raid is targeting left-wing extremists
Tuesday also saw a police raid on the Ateneo Community Center in Most, where various small groups of people gather for discussions and film screenings. There were both plainclothes detectives and uniformed officers at the scene.
"We are not in charge of this intervention, so I am unable to provide any information about it," Regional Police Spokesperson Šárka Poláčková told the Czech News Agency. TV NOVA reported that the raid targeted left-wing extremists.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec refused to confirm that information and repeated that there is an information embargo on the entire case. According to the online daily Deník Referendum, the police raid has targeted approximately 10 persons, some of whom allegedly were involved in the case of the Řízkárna restaurant in Prague, whose operator, Vladimír Krulec, owes his former employees hundreds of thousands of crowns in back wages.
Štěpánka Zenklová, the spokesperson for the State Prosecutor's office in Prague, told the Czech News Agency that she will be able to provide details once the investigation is completed. According to information communicated to the daily Právo by a reliable source familiar with the course of the police action, it is not possible to say whether the extremism at issue is of the left-wing or right-wing variety.
"This is a pretty big piece of bad news. It's just about extremism generally, it's not possible to say whether the motivation is left or right-wing. There are arrests occurring across the country of an estimated 10 people," the source told Právo.
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