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Czech Republic: Ex-MP on probation for inciting hatred against Roma to appeal

Prague, 5.8.2014 16:36, (ROMEA)
Otto Chaloupka.
Otto Chaloupka.

The Czech daily Hospodářské noviny reports that former Czech MP Otto Chaloupka has been placed on probation for six months by the Prague 1 District Court for remarks he made about Romani people on the Facebook social networking site. The court issued its ruling without a hearing in April.  

Chaloupka was found guilty of inciting hatred against an ethnic group. He has appealed the verdict and awaits a public hearing next month.

Last year, Chaloupka posted a commentary to his personal profile on the events in Duchcov (Teplice district), where a small group of Romani people assaulted and beat up a non-Romani married couple, sparking anti-Romani sentiment. "Decent people have put up with your aggression, your thieving, and your unjustified demands for more and more advantages long enough," the politician wrote, adding in the following discussion on Facebook that "people are edge, just a couple more of these gypsy provocations and the slaughter will begin. Then even the riot police won't save them."  

The daily reports that Chaloupka claims he did not intend to threaten Romani people with his commentary. Reportedly his post was a response to a statement by Romani leader František Tomáš, who supposedly declared after the Duchcov attack that "basically nothing happened".  

Prague 1 District Court Judge Edita Beranová, however, found that Chaloupka "publicly incited hatred of an ethnic group and committed this crime through a publicly accessible computer network." Chaloupka had been an MP since 2010 for the Public Affairs (Věci veřejné) party and endeavored to avoid prosecution for his remarks.

Chaloupka argued that he had published his controversial remarks in his capacity as an MP, and that since he had even done this directly from the Chamber of Deputies he should enjoy immunity from prosecution. However, the Supreme Court decided the Prague 1 District Court could hear the case.

The former MP was also tried on suspicion of corruption when a former assistant alleged that Chaloupka had forced him to regularly give him part of his salary. The politician fought the charges and was acquitted last March by the District Court in Hodonín.  

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Facebook, Racism, Soud, Anticiganismus



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