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Czech Prosecutor-General says expressing approval and support for Russian attack on Ukraine could be a felony

26.2.2022 14:35
Igor Stříž (2022) (PHOTO: Office of the Prosecutor-General of the Czech Republic)
Igor Stříž (2022) (PHOTO: Office of the Prosecutor-General of the Czech Republic)

Public statements at demonstrations and on social media that approve of the Russian Federation's ongoing attack on Ukraine or express support for the leadership of Russia can now be considered a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison, Czech Prosecutor-General Igor Stříž said in a press release today. "Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms enshrines freedom of speech at the constitutional level," the press release says.

"Everybody has the right to express their views in the way they see fit. However, freedom of speech also has its limits in a democratic state governed by the rule of law," Stříž said. 

If someone in public - not just at a demonstration, but also on the Internet - agrees with, expresses support for, or supports the leaders of Russia, then that person could, under certain conditions, be committing the criminal offense either of approving of a felony, or of denying, questioning, approving and justifying genocide. By law, such offenses are punishable by imprisonment for up to a year in the case of approving of a felony, or for anywhere between six months to three years in the case of approving of genocide. 

The Czech Police said on Twitter today that, together with the Office of the Prosecutor-General, such speech, whether on cyberspace or at public rallies, will be thoroughly analyzed to see whether it fits the fact pattern of the above-mentioned crimes. "The Office of the Prosecutor-General appeals to everybody not to resort to public speech in excess of the established constitutional and legal restrictions in these difficult times," Stříž said. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Russia, terrorism, Ukraine, war, world



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