Czech Senator Dryml appeals fine for verbal abuse
Czech Senator Vladimír Dryml, formerly a supporter of Czech President Zeman and a former member of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), has decided to file a constitutional complaint against the Senate. The upper chamber has upheld a verdict issued by its Parliamentary Immunity Committee fining the senator CZK 20 000 for verbally abusing a doctor from Yemen.
Czech Senator Milan Štěch, who chairs the Senate, expressed doubt as to whether the Constitutional Court would actually review the complaint at all. "As a democrat, I must respect Mr Dryml's right, as a citizen, to turn to the courts, but I am not at all certain the Constitutional Court will concern itself with this matter at all," he said.
Dryml has not yet published the details of his complaint. Last June, in his role as director of a hospital in Vrchlabí, he told a Yemeni doctor from the Hradec Králové emergency air ambulance service to "Go back where you came from" and was subsequently financially sanctioned.
The senator's words were considered by the committee to constitute a racially-motivated misdemeanor. Dryml has defended himself.
The senator presented the evaluation of an expert witness to the committee which he believed proved his remark could not have been racially motivated. "I am the first senator in the history of our country to file a constitutional complaint against the Senate of the Czech Republic," his press release now states.
Dryml believes the scandal is linked to his electoral battle, as he intends to defend his seat this year. "I primarily feel harmed as an ordinary citizen of our country who has now been publicly labeled a racist, fined for committing racial assault, and publicly lynched by the entire Senate of the Czech Republic just because a doctor of another nationality wanted to draw attention away from his own professional failures," he said.
The senator wants the Constitutional Court to investigate the matter. He said he believes there is now a risk than any employee of a foreign nationality will now file charges of racism whenever he or she is criticized.
Dryml has previously stated that he criticized the Yemeni doctor for violating the rules of the hospital during the landing of the helicopter ambulance and endangering staff safety. Czech Senator Miroslav Antl (who ran for ČSSD), the chair of the Senate's Constitutional Law Committee, said the Parliamentary Immunity Committee decided on the sanctions on the basis of documents provided by police and eyewitness testimonies, and Czech Senator Jiří Oberfalzer (Civic Democrats - ODS), who chairs the Parliamentary Immunity Committee, said eyewitnesses did not confirm Dryml's claim that the Yemeni doctor first verbally attacked him for being a senator.
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