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Czech Republic: Infant arson victim undergoes yet another operation

Ostrava, 6.10.2011 16:41, (ROMEA)

Four-year-old Natálie Siváková, who was severely burned during the Vítkov arson attack in 2009, has made it through yet another operation. During the four-hour surgery, doctors reconstructed the fingers and forearm of her right arm, which she has been almost unable to use due to contracted scar tissue. The surgeons also treated a scar on her neck which was restricting her movements. Alena Schmoranzová, a specialist in upper limb surgery at the Ostrava Teaching Hospital, performed the operation, Czech Television reports.

"The entire family will have to put a certain amount of effort into her recovery after the surgery. They will have to work carefully with the prosthetic covering, with how she wears the rehabilitation devices. If they do that, there is the chance that her grip will improve," Schmoranzová said.

Natálie, who is Romani, was injured in the spring of 2009 during a racially motivated arson attack on her home. Four perpetrators were sentenced to either 20 or 22 years in prison for the attack. All have appealed their sentences to the Czech Supreme Court this past July, which should issue its verdict approximately some time this month.

Supreme Court justices rule on almost all appeals in closed sessions and reject the vast majority of them. In theory, they could overturn a lower-court verdict that has already taken effect and return the case to the lower courts for a new hearing, but such cases are exceptional.

The attack was committed by four racially motivated persons intent on murder: Jaromír Lukeš and David Vaculík were sentenced to 22 years in prison, while Václav Cojocaru and Ivo Müller received 20-year sentences. All four were convicted of multiple counts of racially motivated attempted murder and property damage.

Natálie, who was not yet two years old at the time of the attack, was burned over 80 % of her body and has lost three fingers. Her survival is a combination of luck and top-notch medical care.

Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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