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Czech Republic: Equal Opportunities Party files charges against ultra-right party leaders

Děčín/Prague, 11.9.2014 0:18, (ROMEA)
DSSS party leader Tomáš Vandas (in sunglasses) at a demonstration. (Photo:  František Kostlán)
DSSS party leader Tomáš Vandas (in sunglasses) at a demonstration. (Photo: František Kostlán)

Miroslav Kováč, chair of the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP), has announced that his party has filed criminal charges against DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas and vice-chair Jiří Štěpánek (pictured above). News server Romea.cz is publishing this article by Kováč about those charges in full translation:  

Equal Opportunities Party files criminal charges against the DSSS leadership

The Equal Opportunities Party (SRP) has filed criminal charges with the Regional State Prosecutor in Ústí nad Labem against the chair of the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) Tomáš Vandas and DSSS vice-chair Jiří Štěpánek on suspicion of the following crimes:  Defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other group; incitement to hatred of a group; suppression of the rights and freedoms of a group; incitement to crime; slander. The charges were filed on the basis of statements the men made at a DSSS rally in the town of Děčín on 23 August 2014.  

A total of 120 people (approximately 40 of whom were neo-Nazis, one-third of whom were onlookers, and the rest of whom were journalists and police officers) heard the men's hateful speeches against the Romani national minority, whom Vandas called "inadaptable ethnic gypsies." "You go to the Labor Office, you go there and naturally after some time they send you to the social welfare department. When you arrive there they ask whether you have a refrigerator, a washing machine, a car - so you sell them all just so they can talk you. The inadaptable ethnic gypsies, however, receive all possible benefits and welfare support without having to document anything. They get CZK 20 000 - 30 000 a month in social support and live a satisfied life. Naturally, in such a situation they will not be looking for work," Vandas told the rally.

"Vandas made this speech consciously, as a politician, despite the fact that detailed information about the social welfare system in the Czech Republic and how one becomes eligible for aid to those in material distress is accessible and available to him. With the intention of accruing personal gain in the form of votes, he has intentionally presented the public, through the weight of his 'office', with misleading information. He is aware that he is harming a group in a serious way by so doing and that he is inciting one group in the population against another, and he is also aware that he is disseminating hatred among his fellow citizens..." the SRP writes in its criminal charges.  

DSSS vice-chair Štěpánek called on the public to lynch Romani people by saying the following:  "After 25 years, I have run out of patience. Sometimes I say to myself... Let's send [Hussite military leader] Žižka after them and beat them come what may."

In that public speech, according to the SRP, Štěpánek consciously and intentionally incited hatred against Romani people and urged the public to physically destroy them. "We believe that in this case the right to freedom of speech is being abused in a way that contravenes democracy and human rights and significantly interferes with the rights of others... Racism and xenophobia are a direct violation of the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles on which the European Union was founded and that are held in common by the Member States," the SRP adds.   

Miroslav Kováč, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Demonstrace, DSSS, Racism, SRP, trestní oznámení



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