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Czech Republic: Romani local councilor to remain in custody on drugs charges

3.11.2015 19:04
Marcel Cichý
Marcel Cichý

Marcel Cichý, a local councilor in the Czech town of Trmice (Ústecký Region), has been charged with drug distribution and will remain in custody pending trial. The Ústecký Regional Court announced that decision today.

The case of the international group which allegedly distributed marijuana and methamphetamine, will begin hearings in December, Presiding Judge Jiří Bednář told the Czech News Agency. All of the defendants are remaining in custody.

According to Bednář, the defendants still pose a flight risk. "Several alternative arrangements were proposed by them, such as having a trustworthy person vouch for them or for bail to be posted. Nevertheless, given the charges in the indictment, they are faced with possible sentencing of anywhere between 10 and 18 years, and that in and of itself is a circumstance that increases the danger that they might flee. Naturally, that does not predict that such a qualification will eventually be included in the verdict, but at this moment that is how the indictment reads," the presiding judge told the Czech News Agency.

The trustworthy person proposed in this case was the director of the Trmice Primary School, Marie Gottfriedová. Cichý taught at her school until his arrest in January this year.

Cichý's attorney, Zdeněk Grus, did not want to comment on the court's decision to keep him in custody, saying that he did not have his client's permission to make a statement on the developments. Cichý is one of three people who were arrested in this case by the National Anti-Drug Headquarters at the beginning of this year.

State prosecutors have charged them with distributing marijuana and methamphetamine both in Slovakia and in the Ústecký Region. Cichý has been charged with the sale of marijuana only.

According to the indictment, he allegedly initiated the sale of approximately 2.8 kg of the drug. He did not personally participate in delivering the drug to the buyer.

The other two defendants allegedly distributed marijuana in the Ústecký Region. According to the prosecutor, one of them also used a courier to sell a kilogram of methamphetamine in Slovakia.

The trial will begin on 9 December and four more hearings will be held during January 2016. "All defendants will testify on that first day. In January the witness testimonies are planned, as is the introduction of other evidence. Should agreement be given with reading witness testimonies into the record, then they will be read," the presiding judge said.

All of the defendants have been brought up on the most serious drug charges that exist and face up to 18 years in prison if convicted. Cichý, a member of the Romani community who is also an elected local councilor in Trmice, has not resigned his position.  

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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