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Czech Republic: Dozens of educators and students support activist who allegedly assaulted police officer

25.4.2016 11:09
The reaction of Kateřina Krejčová to the police intervention against her boyfriend as they were counter-protesting in 2015 in Prague. (PHOTO:  YouTube.com)
The reaction of Kateřina Krejčová to the police intervention against her boyfriend as they were counter-protesting in 2015 in Prague. (PHOTO: YouTube.com)

Dozens of educators and students of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) have signed a letter supporting left-wing activist Kateřina Krejčová, who allegedly assaulted a police officer last year while protesting a march by those opposed to migration. In February the court sentenced her to one month in prison, suspended for one year, a sentence she has appealed.

Representatives of FAMU are calling Krejčová's conviction a sign of rising sympathy among police units and the state prosecutor for displays of hatred and racism like the demonstration in question. Associate Professor doc. Mgr. Vít Janeček of the Department of Documentary Arts at FAMU sent the letter to the Czech News Agency last week.

Krejčová is a brand-new PhD at FAMU who graduated from their audiovisual studies department. "We support the engaged position of Kateřina Krejčová and we call on the police, the state prosecutor and the courts to assess the facts of the case and their context fairly and in the spirit of the democratic order and of freedom. We are calling for her acquittal," reads the letter, which is signed not just by educators and students, but also by several other employees of FAMU.

According to the indictment, Krejčová jumped on the back of a police officer after he intervened against her boyfriend. She claims the officer's intervention was disproportionate.

Her appeal will be reviewed by the Municipal Court in Prague on 28 April. The incident happened last July, when several hundred people protested in the center of Prague against immigration and the EU's proposal of quotas for refugee reception.

Some of the demonstrators carried mock-ups of gallows inscribed with "For Treason" on them. The demonstrators said they believed some Czech politicians had committed treason through their decisions.

Police officers intervened against left-wing activists who attempted to block the demonstrators' march. The police claim they called on the counter-protesters to get out of the way before arresting them, but some of the counter-protesters, including Krejčová and her boyfriend, say the police did no such thing.

According to the indictment, Krejčová assaulted the officer after he forced her boyfriend to kneel on the ground. She is said to have caused the officer a contusion of the shoulder, due to which he had to spend a week on disability.

Krejčová's defense is that the officer's intervention was disproportionate, and her attorney, Pavel Uhl, says he considers the officer's behavior to have constituted abuse of the powers of a public official. Both pointed out during the hearing that Krejčová, who weighs 50 kilograms, could not have harmed the officer, who was twice her size.   

brf, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Aktivismus, Demonstrace, Policie, Soud, student, trest



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