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Czech Republic: Romani gunshot victim gets two years for rioting

Tanvald, 25.11.2013 16:59, (ROMEA)
The funeral of the Romani youth shot to death in Tanvald in 2012. (PHOTO:  Romea.cz Archive)
The funeral of the Romani youth shot to death in Tanvald in 2012. (PHOTO: Romea.cz Archive)

News server iDNES.cz reports that a Czech court has sentenced Patrik Tatár, a Romani man who was shot in the abdomen on New Year's Day 2012 by 63-year-old Jan Sieber, to two years in prison. The state prosecutor found earlier that Sieber had acted in self-defense.

Tatár's brother Ladislav was shot to death by Sieber during the same conflict. The court has now found Patrik guilty of rioting.

The father of the two young men is considering turning to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over the outcome. "Patrik was shot when he was helping his wounded brother. He did not attack anyone," he told iDNES.cz

"Now he's being punished despite having done no wrong. This investigation was not conducted correctly, the man involved is lying, but only his version is being believed even though he has committed murder. We live in a racist state," the father said.  

The shooting occurred on New Year's Day 2012 at around 1:30 AM on the outskirts of Tanvald near a railway line. The conflict reportedly began with a banal incident when Sieber and the Tatár brothers bumped shoulders as they made their way along a narrow, snowy path. 

The men then began to curse at one another. The state prosecutor says Ladislav Tatár then struck Sieber in the head from behind.

Ladislav's brother Patrik supposedly also participated in the assault. The state prosecutor says they both pushed Sieber to the ground and kicked him, at which point he began shooting them.  

"The state prosecutor has come to the conclusion that the aim of the person who used a firearm was just to prevent the assault underway, not to cause death or serious injury to the attackers," Ústí nad Labem Deputy State Prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová said in June 2012, adding that the shooter had had no other effective means of defense. The tragedy prompted enormous emotion in the Czech Republic. 

Czech documentary filmmakers Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda produced a film about the incident, "Life and Death in Tanvald" (Život a smrt v Tanvaldu). In that film, with the aid of the victims' father, they succeeded in getting an audio recording of testimony by an alleged eyewitness to the tragedy whose identity still remains strictly secret.  

The media had speculated just after the shooting that there might be have been an eyewitness to it. What the alleged eyewitness says in the documentary is completely at odds with the conclusions drawn by the official investigation.

In the documentary, the alleged eyewitness tells the victims' father that his sons did not assault Sieber. "They walked toward one another and grabbed each other. I did not see anything like them attacking him from behind. They first held onto one another face-to-face, no one was on the ground. Then when they began to fight, they fell to the ground. Then the shots rang out," the alleged eyewitness says.  

"Sieber says they assaulted him from behind with a knife," the victims' father says, to which the alleged eyewitness responds:  "No, I did not see anything like that. They fell to the side and [Ladislav] was on top of him. Then [Patrik] ran up and the shots were fired."

The alleged eyewitness is then asked whether he gave that information to police during their reconstruction of the incident. He quietly answers "Yeah, like that" before adding whether he doesn't know how precise he was; according to the father of the men who were shot, no court has yet taken this divergent account of what happened into consideration.

ryz, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Kriminalita, Násilí, Násilí z nenávisti, Racism, Soud, Střelba v Tanvaldu, Tanvald



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