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Czech Republic: Funeral for Romani gunshot victim Saturday, public commemoration planned

Tanvald, 3.1.2012 20:29, (ROMEA)
Mourners light candles at the scene of the crime. Photo:  Repro NOVA TV

The funeral for the 22-year-old Romani man who was shot to death in Tanvald in the early morning hours of Sunday will be held during the morning of Saturday, 7 January. Eva Gáborová of the Roma Tanvald association has confirmed to news server that Romani residents intend to hold a public commemoration immediately after the funeral.

The man who allegedly shot the youth and his brother, who survived, has been released on his own recognizance and has not yet been charged. The regional state prosecutor's office will not be making a statement on the case until the end of the week.

The funeral will take place at 11:00 AM, followed by the public commemoration. Mayor Petr Polák was not aware of the event this afternoon. "We have not received any information about a demonstration," he told the Czech Press Agency, adding that the town was concerned the situation there might explode. Police surveillance has therefore been increased.

"Everything is closed today, but we will announce the event first thing tomorrow. We have discussed how to organize the commemoration with police. A peaceful event will take place after the funeral of the gunshot victim on Saturday," Eva Gáborová of the Roma Tanvald civic association, which has been entrusted by the victim's family and other Romani residents of Tanvald with organizing the march, told news server "The whole town knew him, this is definitely meant as a gesture of respect for the boy," Gáborová added. Romani residents are making it clear that the event will be a peaceful, reverential commemoration.

TV Nova has reported that the 63-year-old man who allegedly shot the youths at around 1:30 AM on Sunday has traveled to Germany. The victims' father claims the shooter is a former police officer. The regional state prosecutor's office has publicized a minimum of information about the case. Today State Prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová would only state that the investigation is ongoing. She would not confirm whether the brother of the deceased, who is still receiving medical care, has been interrogated yet. "We will not be making any further statements on this for the rest of this week," she said. The father of the gunshot victims said that as of Monday evening police had not contacted him at all.

Czech media are speculating that the shooter might have first been attacked by the youths. Bradáčová previously stated that it was not yet possible to determine whether the incident was a felony or a case of necessary self-defense. Among other steps, an interrogation of the 24-year-old Romani shooting victim who survived the incident would be necessary to determine that.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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