Czech Republic: Perpetrators of machete attack get up to 17.5 years
Vojtěch Husák has been convicted of perpetrating an attack with a machete in Nový Bor in 2011 and will spend 17.5 years in prison, while his accomplices Antonín Sinu and Jakub Žiga will spend 15 years in prison each. The High Court in Prague handed down its verdict Friday 24 October and it has taken effect.
Sinu was ultimately convicted of attempted murder, not grievous bodily harm, which meant the court could sentence him to 15 years instead of three. The court upheld Žiga's original sentence and added 1.5 years to Husák's.
All three perpetrators, who are Romani, injured three non-Romani men in a bar during the August 2011 incident. The attack sparked several anti-Romani demonstrations throughout northern Bohemia.
"This has taken too long, I'm glad it's over already, this was a real shame for Nový Bor," Mayor Jaromír Dvořák told the Czech News Agency in response to today's verdict. He believes the situation in the town has gradually calmed down.
The municipal police force in Nový Bor has since been augmented by two more people. A Romani patrol and police assistants are also operating there now.
"That paid off for us. Last year we had the lowest crime levels in the last 10 years, although this year the amnesty of the [former] President somewhat spoiled that trend," Dvořák said.
The court also ruled on the appeals of two juvenile co-defendants who were originally sentenced to 3.5 and five years in prison. One sentence was upheld while the other was overturned and returned to the lower instance for retrial.
According to the prosecution, the perpetrators were taking revenge over a preceding conflict between a barmaid and two Romani youths who had gone to the bar to play video poker. The woman reportedly asked to see their identification and the youths began to vulgarly insult her.
Other customers stood up for the woman and threw the youths out of the bar, with one customer reportedly also striking one of the boys. The Romani youths then reportedly returned to the bar shortly thereafter with reinforcements and assaulted the customers without warning.
One of the victims was so severely injured in the attack that doctors had to replace part of his skull with a platinum plate. A court psychologist testified that the assault was not planned but was sparked by anger.
Today's hearing was closed to the public because two of the defendants were juveniles. Interested parties were only able to listen to the announcement of the verdict, which by law must always be done publicly.
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