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December 7, 2021

 

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Czech prosecutor finds livestreamed remarks made in pub about "stabbing" politician rise to the level of a misdemeanor only

22.10.2021 6:58
Tomio Okamura (left) and Ladislav Mártha (right) (Collage: Romea.cz)
Tomio Okamura (left) and Ladislav Mártha (right) (Collage: Romea.cz)

Public broadcaster Czech Television reports that prosecutors have decided the livestream of a Romani man in a restaurant apparently threatening to stab the chair of the SPD movement, Czech MP Tomio Okamura, is not evidence of behavior that is criminal and the case will be dealt with just as a misdemeanor. The Czech Police had originally charged two men with violence against a group or its individual members because of the footage.

In addition to the person who made the remarks, the other person charged was the one who broadcast them live through social media. If the criminal charges had stuck, the men could have faced as long as three years behind bars if they had been convicted. 

Both men now face the possibility of fines. "The criminal proceedings was closed by a motion from the prosecutor dated 6 October 2021," Libor Šuráň from the supervising prosecutor's office in Česká Lípa told Czech Television. 

"After assessing the seriousness of the conduct and the circumstances of the case, the motion referred the criminal case to the Municipal Office in Nový Bor for discussion of the offense," Šuráň said. For threatening to harm somebody else's physical health, the fine levied by a misdemeanor proceeding could be as high as CZK 20 000 [EUR 780]. 

Police had originally accused the two men from northern Bohemia of violence against a group or its individual members. The older of the two, a 52-year-old man from Liberec, was captured threatening to "stab" Okamura in the livestream. 

"We should discuss a serious matter that concerns Mr Okamura. You all know very well that he wants to get rid of aid to those in material distress and housing benefits," the older man says in the video, which was produced at the beginning of August.

"We disagree with that. Yesterday he gave a smaller speech about it in the Chamber of Deputies, where he wanted to address this," the older man's remarks continue. 

"We will fight Okamura, everybody needs to join the fight against Okamura, we'll take up our knives and stab him," the older man then said, with a tableware knife in his hand; the 34-year-old man from Jablonec who livestreamed the video through his Facebook profile was also charged for his involvement. Officers charged the broadcaster with the same crime as the speaker and asked for an accelerated procedure to be used against both of the accused. 

Okamura subsequently used excerpts from the video recording of the livestream during his campaign for the elections to the lower house that were held earlier this month, publishing the man's apparent threats to his own Facebook profile in September. Romani associations in the Liberec Region distanced themselves from the remarks even before Okamura attempted to exploit the footage.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Hate, Hate violence, Racism, Tomio Okamura



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