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December 12, 2018
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Czech prosecutor to review police decision not to charge politicians over remarks about Romani genocide site

16.11.2018 10:41
Czech MP Tomio Okamura has repeatedly doubted the suffering of the Romani prisoners of the WWII-era concentration camp at Lety u Písku. (Collage: Romea.cz)
Czech MP Tomio Okamura has repeatedly doubted the suffering of the Romani prisoners of the WWII-era concentration camp at Lety u Písku. (Collage: Romea.cz)

The remarks made by the chair of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy - Tomio Okamura" (SPD) party and by an MP from that party, Miloslav Rozner, about the former concentration camp at Lety u Písku will be reviewed by the Prague Municipal State Prosecutor. As news server Romea.cz and other media outlets previously reported in mid-October, police shelved the case after announcing they did not believe crimes had been committed by either politician.

The police decision will now be reviewed by the Prague office of the public prosecutor. Aleš Cimbala, spokesperson for that office, confirmed the review to Czech Television last week.

"The Municipal State Prosecutor is involved in the matter as part of its supervisory capacity to audit the procedures of the District State Prosecutor. If, within the framework of that supervision, it will be ascertained that the local prosecutor proceeded incorrectly, then the supervising prosecutor will task the local prosecutor with correcting the situation," Cimbala told Czech Television.

"That instruction will be binding on the subordinate office," the spokesperson said. He explained that the police decision has already been reviewed by a lower supervisory level, the District State Prosecutor for Prague 4, which was unable to identify any reasons to overturn the decision to shelve the case.

Should a procedural error now be found, the Municipal State Prosecutor could recommend the case be returned to police for further investigation. Okamura alleged incorrectly in January that the former concentration camp at Lety had never been fenced and that the prisoners had been able to freely come and go from it.

After his remarks sparked outrage, Okamura then apologized for saying the Lety camp had not been fenced but immediately alleged, again incorrectly, that the former concentration camp had not been guarded most of the time and that the prisoners had been free to move about as they pleased inside the camp. When the SPD chair was then accused of denying the Holocaust, he called the accusations a campaign against his party.

Okamura also said that while he did not doubt the prisoners of the camp had experienced anguish, he has reservations about how the remembrance site there is being dealt with. As for Czech MP Rozner (SPD), he used the phrase "non-existing pseudo-concentration camp" to refer to the former camp when criticizing the Government's decision to buy the pig farm on the site of the former camp, which is located near the current memorial site.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Extremism, Lety u Písku, Racism



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