Czech Police propose pressing charges over publication of radical Islamic book
The Czech Police have proposed pressing charges over the publication of a radical Islamic book. Czech Television reported today that Pavel Hanták, spokesperson for the Organized Crime Detection Unit, announced the recommendation.
Police did not reveal the identity of the suspect or suspects to be charged, but according to previously released information a 55-year-old Czech man, Vladimír Sáňka, the former head of Prague's Muslim community, has been charged in the case. "The investigation has been completed with a proposal that an indictment be filed on suspicion of supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. The file materials were sent to the Prague 1 State Prosecutor on 8 April with a motion for indictment," Hanták told Czech Television.
State Prosecutor Jan Lelek then clarified to Czech Television that the motion has been filed against a sole individual. Sáňka is suspected of having arranged for the publication and distribution in the Czech Republic of a book that disseminates racism.
Previous reports say that the charges concern a publication entitled "Fundamentals of TAWHEED (Islamic Monotheism)" (in Czech, "Základy tauhídu-Islámský koncept Boha") by Bilal Philips, who is not permitted to travel to some Western countries because of it. The book is banned in several states.
The daily Právo reported at the beginning of this year that an expert opinion submitted to police says the book contains hateful, racially intolerant statements. The case is related to a raid that police officers undertook in Prague on 25 April 2014 against buildings housing the Center of Muslim Communities in the Czech Republic, the Muslim Community of Prague, and the Islamic Foundation of Prague at sites near Wenceslas Square in the center and in the Černý Most quarter on the outskirts.
According to a previous statement by Czech Police President Tomáš Tuhý, the officers went into the raid on the understanding that some of the people at the various locations might be armed. He claimed that this was subsequently confirmed, but a a follow-up investigation by detectives discovered that the people who had weapons on them were legally licensed to carry them.
The raid took place during Friday prayers, which are of special significance to Muslims. Many of those attending the prayers, including foreign diplomats, subsequently complained about the raid.
Witnesses criticized the intervention, alleging it was too disruptive. Those present did not like the fact that they were required to lie face down on the ground and some witnesses testified that officers pointed their weapons at them.
The Czech Interior Ministry investigated the case and found the intervention to have been in order. Police are said to have evidence that they called on children, people living with disabilities, those with diplomatic immunity, and women to immediately leave the sites of the raid.
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