Czech Prosecutor General insists online hate speech is a felony, Supreme Court agrees
The Czech daily Právo reports that a woman from Plzeň is currently facing trial for hateful commentaries posted to Facebook last year. She had initially been fined just CZK 500 [EUR 20] for the offense by a local administrative body that addresses misdemeanors against public order.
After the Czech Prosecutor General asked the Supreme Court in Brno to intervene, the local bureaucrats have now annulled their decision and sent the case back to the courts as a suspected felony. Currently the woman faces up to three years in prison for inciting hatred against a group of people.
The 26-year-old commented through Facebook on a news report featuring video footage of refugee families who had been found concealed inside of long-haul trucks along with goods being transported and who were subsequently put on buses to be transported to a detention camp in February of last year. "And we will be paying for them," the woman posted.
"Why didn't they just set those buses on fire?" the woman then complained. She defended her opinion in further comments when others objected and pointed out that some of the migrants were children.
"Once those children grow up and rape our children, then we can talk about it. They won't grow up to be anything normal," the woman alleged.
"Do you want it to look like France or Germany here?" she argued. Police later opened criminal proceedings against her and the prosecutor indicted her in April 2018.
The District Court decided her behavior had not been so harmful to society as to rise to the level of criminal liability. The court sent the case to the local misdemeanor commission for that reason.
Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman then filed a motion with the Supreme Court in Brno for the lower-court verdict and the misdemeanor commission's decision to be overturned, the Supreme Court agreed with his analysis and ordered a new hearing of the case. "The law does not determine what form speech must take in order to qualify as incitement," the Supreme Court explained.
"Incitement can be performed either covertly or directly, and the hateful act being called for does not have to be triggered as a result of the speech in order for incitement to have occurred," the Supreme Court explained. The misdemeanor commission's decision to impose sanctions before the Supreme Court managed to review the prosecutor's appeal was a barrier to simply reopening a hearing, however.
At the Supreme Court's recommendation, the local bureaucrats annulled their original decision as part of a so-called review procedure, which the Misdemeanor Act provides for as a form of extraordinary remedy. The local officials chose to follow that approach because a defendant cannot be punished twice for the same act.
"Should facts come to light that justify assessing an act as a felony when it has already been adjudicated with final effect as a misdemeanor, the relevant administrative body shall overturn its decision in a review procedure," the Supreme Court said, citing the remedy for overturning the legal consequences of an administrative body decision after it has taken effect. "The decision by the Misdemeanor Commission of the Plzeň 3 Municipal Department, which had taken effect, was overturned in a review procedure by City Hall as the supervisory administrative body, and the entire case file was returned to the Plzeň-město District Court for the purposes of hearing the indictment," Milan Knotek, spokesperson for the Municipal Department of Plzeň 3, told the daily Právo.
- Czech court says use of force in response to racist abuse was proportionate, prosecutor appeals
- Czech Police, prosecutors intensively focus on online haters, number of prosecutions rising
- Czech prosecutor appeals after court acquits online hater of saying dark-skinned first-graders should be gassed to death
- Czech court acquits football hooligans accused of assaulting dark-skinned man on Prague tram, prosecutor appeals
- Czech prosecutor reviewing local election slogan referencing "pests" and "poison"
- Czech prosecutor seeks just four years in prison for fanatic who caused train crashes
- Czech Supreme Court to review verdict in shooting murder of Romani man in Chomutov
- Czech prosecutor to review police decision not to charge politicians over remarks about Romani genocide site
- Czech lower courts consider online comment calling for asylum-seekers to be set on fire a misdemeanor, Supreme Court to rule now
- Czech appeals court reduces sentence for murder of Romani man to seven years, prosecutor calls it disproportionate, inhumane and unjust
- Czech court rules activists did not enrich themselves by using abandoned building, state may go to Supreme Court
- Czech Supreme Court closes case of vote-buying at Romani housing estate, public interest of secret recording was key
- Czech prosecutors announce first indictment in case of online hate speech against first-graders
- Czech prosecutor indicts shooter for murder, refutes police report that he was responding to victim driving into people
- Čeněk Růžička reports crime to Czech State Prosecutor, accuses lower house vice-chair of doubting the Romani genocide
- Czech prosecutor says death threats and racist abuse committed through Facebook not necessarily crimes
- Czech prosecutor agrees with police that threat to burn down ROMEA is not a crime
- Czech state prosecutor rejects complaint from family of Romani man who died in presence of police
- Czech state prosecutor indicts four people over vandalizing "HateFree" businesses
- Czech Supreme Court upholds sentencing for neo-Nazi who attempted to burn 18 Romani people, eight of them children, to death
- Czech Supreme Audit Office: People who are not disadvantaged at all are being awarded "social housing"
- Romani evictees seek compensation from town, Czech Supreme Court to review case
- Czech Supreme Court president fires spokesperson for anti-Romani remarks
- Czech Supreme Court overturns verdict against John Bok
- Czech Supreme Court upholds sentencing in Vítkov arson case
- Czech Supreme Court: Nazi salute not illegal when everyone does it
- Czech Supreme Court - new hope for forcibly sterilized Romani women
- Czech Supreme Court: Poverty not a good enough reason to take children into state care
- Czech Supreme Court reinstates sentencing of Roma ex-police officer
- Czech Supreme Court upholds three-year sentence for singer’s racist lyrics
- Czech Senate elections won by "Mayors" party, xenophobic rhetoric scored no votes, owner of disinformation tabloid not reseated
- Czech poll finds 30 % of the public does not want Romani children in mainstream classes and does want them to be segregated
- Czech court upholds suspended sentence for man who called for non-white first-graders to be gassed to death
- Finland's Supreme Court dissolves Finnish branch of international neo-Nazi group
- Commentary: Czech journalists stoke hatred of Romani people to distract from failed pandemic response
- YouTube restores Czech politician's channel but deletes two posts that spread hate
- COMMENTARY: Even if the Czech Public Defender of Rights repeats the same lie about Roma a thousand times, that won't make it true
- Czech Television reports that elected politicians' names have been removed from official report on extremism for 2019
- Commentary: Romani quintuplets go to school, primitives in the Czech Republic have a field day!
- Commentary: The Czech and Slovak Romani community on the battlefield that is Facebook
- Czech bus driver refuses to drive city bus with bigoted campaign ad, mayor negotiates its removal
- Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on the Holocaust and its Romani victims: Romani people are a full-fledged component of our society