Czech Republic: Romani councilor charged with marijuana sale faces up to 18 years in prison if convicted
Czech State Prosecutor Hana Řeháková has filed an indictment with the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem against Marcel Cichý, a Romani member of the Trmice town council who is allegedly involved in a four-member group of drug dealers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The group worked in the Ústí Region and is said to have sold marijuana and methamphetamine there between October and December of last year.
Cichý, according to the prosecutor, initiated one sale of almost three kilograms of marijuana. "The accused offered crushed and dried cannabis/marijuana plants for sale through SMS text message and then arranged for the sale," news server iDNES.cz reports the indictment as reading.
The actual handover of the goods did not involve Cichý. Other members of the group allegedly sold another three kilograms of marijuana as well.
Cichý worked as a teacher at the Primary School in Trmice on Tyršova Street and was a member of the local council before his arrest. His colleagues from the political movement "Together for Trmice", on whose ticket he ran for office, are standing by him.
"This is a shock and a surprise. It's brought me down psychologically," Martin Bajger, Cichý's club colleague on the local council, said in January.
"I believe Marcel is innocent. I hope this will all be corrected and that it will be proven that he did nothing wrong," Bajger said.
Members of the movement published a press release about the arrest at the time. "We live in a democratic state where one of the guaranteed principles of the rule of law is the presumption of innocence. That means that anyone criminally prosecuted must be viewed as innocent until proven guilty. Until that time, we will view our member as innocent. We firmly believe that an unfortunate combination of various circumstances has occurred that will be explained during the course of the investigation and that the innocence of Mr Marcel Cichý will be confirmed," the press release reads.
Cichý has been in custody since January. On the basis of the indictment, Judge Jiří Bednář has ordered a trial, but its exact date is not yet publicly known.
The charges are for the unlicensed production and other handling of narcotics as an international group. If convicted, Cichý faces between 10 and 18 years in prison.
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