Czech politician appeals sentence for his hateful remarks about minorities
Czech Television reported on 13 June that the former secretary for the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) party, Jaroslav Staník, disagrees with the conviction and sentence handed down against him in April by the District Court for Prague 1 for remarks he made in a restaurant located in the lower house about members of various minorities. He has now filed an appeal.
Court spokesperson Pavla Hájková has confirmed that information. The politician objects to being sentenced to a year in prison, conditionally postponed for two years, as well as to the CZK 70 000 [EUR 2 700] fine he has been instructed to pay.
Staník did, however, apologize for vulgarly abusing Marie Richterová, the former secretary to then-Labor Minister Michaela Marksová (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD). Richterová said Staník was considerably drunk at the time of the incident and doing his best to draw attention by speaking about minorities.
"He said to me: 'You stand up for the fags. You'll go next, right after them'," Richterová said.
She did not recall Staník having used any other vulgarities. At the time Richterová did not know Staník and had never been introduced to him, but he addressed her using her full name.
Richterová is convinced that the former SPD secretary got her personal information from the extreme-right server White Media. "At that time I was working, for example, on projects aiding Romani families with absolving their debt, but he kept on saying something to me about Muslims and homosexuals," she said.
The extremist White Media server was blocked earlier this year after a motion to do so was filed by the Office for the Protection of Personal Information. The server had published personal information about individuals that was acquired without their permission.
Staník's defamatory remarks were confirmed to the court by former MPs Marek Černoch and Martin Lank (both for the "Dawn" party - Úsvit). Staník has accused them both of lying.
During his hearing, Staník said his remarks had been taken out of context and that during the heated debate he had merely quoted a description by [medieval religious reformer] Master Jan Hus of Romani people as an "unclean tribe that avoids work". That particular attribution of such a statement to the Czech historical figure was disseminated through the Internet several years ago.
In 2013, news server Romea.cz refuted that alleged quotation and demonstrated that it had been fabricated. "When we are discussing solving the Romani question, I always put it into a broader context," Staník explained to the court, going on to mention, in addition to the fake Hus quotation, the patents of Charles VI or Empress Marie Theresa - the former reportedly ordered all 'gypsies' to be hung, while the latter took their children away.
Staník also reminded the court that in 1927 the Czechoslovak Parliament had adopted a "law on wandering Gypsies". The former SPD secretary was also an assistant to MP Holík at the time of the incident.
At the close of November and start of December 2017, Staník stopped working as his assistant because Holík believed his duties as party secretary were taking up too much of his time. SPD chair Tomio Okamura subsequently announced that Staník was no longer either a member or secretary of the movement.
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