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Czech senator not to be prosecuted over her words about Romanies

Prague, 24.4.2008 19:56, (ROMEA/CTK)

Czech Senator Liana Janackova (for the Independents movement) will not be prosecuted over her controversial statements about a group of Romanies in Ostrava, north Moravia, as the Senate refused to strip her of immunity as an MP today.

Janackova's prosecution is thus ruled out forever.

Earlier today Janackova asked the Senate to release her for the prosecution the police wanted to launch over what some suspect to have been racist utterances.

She said she wanted to refute the speculations that the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), which commands a majority in the Senate, would otherwise support her in the Senate because she had backed its candidate Vaclav Klaus in the February presidential elections.

However, in the subsequent vote on whether Janackova should be stripped of immunity, the step was supported by only 13 of the 54 senators present.

Apart from all ODS senators present, the release of Janackova for prosecution, proposed by the senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), was not supported by her colleagues from the Independents' Association (SNK) group, by most Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and by two CSSD senators.

The rest of the CSSD backed the proposal as did all senators for the Communist party (KSCM), members of the Open Democracy Club (KOD) group, KDU-CSL senator Vaclav Koukal, and Premysl Sobotka, the ODS's Senate chairman.

The opponents of the proposal pointed out that Janackova had made her statements in the heat of passion and without a racist intention.

They said the whole affair has a political subtext.

Those promoting Janackova's release said that a politician must behave as a public official.

They pointed out that a former deputy mayor of an Ostrava district, who is not protected by immunity, faces prosecution over his Romany-related words, similar to Janackova's.

Janackova, who is Mayor of Ostrava district Marianske Hory and Hulvaky, pronounced the controversial words at meeting of the housing department of her district authority in 2006.

On a recording from the event, she was heard speaking about excessively multiplying Romanies and about "dynamite" to blow them up with, in connection with solving problems in a Romany settlement.

"Unfortunately, I'm a racist, I disagree with the integration of gypsies and their living across the district. Unfortunately, we've chosen Bedriska [locality], therefore they will be there, behind a tall fence with electricity," Janackova was heard saying from the recording.

Janackova apologised for her statements last year, saying they were unfortunate and silly. She said she had made them in a tense atmosphere. She dismissed having aimed her words at all Romanies.

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Czech republic, Liana Janáčková



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