Czech senator pays fine for racism, appeals to Constitutional Court
Czech Senator Vladimír Dryml has paid his fine of CZK 20 000 for verbally assaulting a Yemeni doctor. The sanction was handed down by the Senate's Committee on Immunity, which found that Dryml's remarks had a racial subtext.
When Dryml appealed that decision to the Senate as a whole, it upheld the committee's decision. Dryml has now confirmed to the Czech News Agency that he has decided to file a complaint against the Senate with the Constitutional Court.
"By paying the fine within the time frame established by the Senate of the Czech Republic, I have fulfilled my official obligations. Nevertheless, I am determined to file a complaint about this with the Constitutional Court. It will be the first time in the history of our country that the court will have to decide a dispute between a senator and the institution of the Senate," reads Dryml's written statement.
The chair of the Senate, Milan Štěch, prevoiusly expressed doubt as to whether the Constitutional Court would actually address such a complaint. "As a democrat I must respect Mr Dryml's right, as a citizen, to turn to the court, but I am not at all certain the Constitutional Court will get involved in this matter," he told the Czech News Agency.
Dryml has called the upper chamber's decision to fine him completely absurd and an example of "positive discrimination". He was sanctioned for having told a Yemeni doctor with the Hradec Králové air emergency services "Go back where you came from" in his role as director of a hospital in Vrchlabí last June.
The Senate committee evaluated his words as misdemeanor racially-motivated verbal assault. Dryml protested the decision.
The senator presented an evaluation of the incident by an expert witness who argued that the statement could not have been racially motivated. He claimed to have criticized the Yemeni doctor for violating the rules and endangering the safety of the staff at the hospital during the landing of the helicopter.
The sanctioned senator says he now believes there is a risk that any employee of foreign nationality will consider it racism to be criticized. Miroslav Antl, chair of the Senate's Constitutional Law Committee, said the Committee on Immunity made its decision to sanction Drmyl based on documents provided by police and eyewitness testimonies.
Dryml also claimed that the Yemeni doctor first verbally assaulted him for being a senator. Jiří Oberfalzer, chair of the Committee on Immunity, said the evidence provided did not uphold that claim.
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