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Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis charged but not in custody, arsonists from Aš may be among them

Prague, 3.4.2012 17:54, (ROMEA)

The Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu - ÚOOZ) said today that last month's raid on neo-Nazis across the Czech Republic shows that right-wing extremists have been considering attacks on buildings and people and that their plans are of the nature of a battle against the state. Police officers have charged nine people, none of whom are in custody. Most of them face charges of establishing, supporting and promoting movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms.

Police are assuming the charges will be expanded. They suspect some of the groups are responsible for several still-unsolved arson attacks, such as the recent attack on a residential hotel in Aš mostly occupied by Romani tenants. Two men suspected of that attack and charged with reckless endangerment remain at large, as do all of the others charged after the recent raid.

The ÚOOZ raid against right-wing extremists took place on 27 March. Today detectives reported that on that day, police arrested eight men and one woman between the ages of 22 and 37. According to documentation, those charged are said to have committed extensive criminal activity at various locations throughout the Czech Republic, and some of them personally participated in the creation and establishment of the neo-Nazi organization Blood & Honour Division Bohemia and its daughter organization, the militant terrorist group Combat 18. During house searches police officers found promotional materials with neo-Nazi themes, illegally held guns, instructions for producing explosives, raw materials for explosives production, and industrially produced materials for their triggers.

Pavel Hanták, a spokesperson for the ÚOOZ, said in a press release that detectives have discovered "exceptionally serious material" which is evidence that the extremists are engaged in an ideological battle against the state. The document discovered is said to work with the idea of "possible damage to or destruction of specific buildings and people in the Czech Republic, which for understandable reasons cannot be publicized. However, there is no doubt that if these violent actions were to be carried out, the overall activity of the state would be paralyzed." Police say members of the group had actively planned a so-called direct action against those opposed to neo-Nazi ideology and representatives of the democratic order of the state. They are also said to have called for attacks against minority members and to have informed others about such attacks through the internet.

Police requested that six of those charged be remanded into custody. While the Prague 1 District Court accepted the state prosecutor's motion to that effect, it decided the defendants could go free if they filed a written promise with the court to refrain from criminal activity pending trial. Hanták said they face prison sentences of between three and 10 years should they be found guilty.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Jitka Votavová, voj, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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