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Czech senator's statements on Romanies too strong - group

Prague, 17.7.2007 17:55, (CTK)

The statements about Romanies some call racist by Czech senator Liana Janackova (for the Independents, SNK) are inappropriate, Josef Novotny, chairman of the SNK senators' group, told journalists today.

However, the group did not call on her to resign from the post of deputy chairwoman of the Senate committee for human rights, Novotny said.

The affair was caused by a political struggle at the town hall at the Marianske Hory a Hulvaky district in Ostrava, North Moravia, where Janackova is the mayor, Novotny said.

Janackova was fiercely criticised after a recording had been published where she used some controversial statements about local Romanies.

"Unfortunately, I am a racist, I disagree with the integration of Gypsies so that they would live across the area. Unfortunately, we have chosen the (settlement) Bedriska and so they will stay there, with a high fence, with electricity," Janackova, who is also mayor of a district of the third largest Czech city of Ostrava, north Moravia, allegedly said.

She also allegedly spoke about Romanies having many children and about dynamite.
Janackova first challenged the authenticity of the recording and said it was a political attack on her.

She then said the sentences were pronounced by another woman with the same voice, but later she admitted she did say some of the sentences.

Janackova said today her statements were unfortunate and unsuitable.

"The words certainly should not have been said," she told journalists, adding that she had said them in a tense atmosphere.

She said she would not resign.

She promised to apologise to those Romanies from Bedriska who were offended by her words. However, she would not apologise to those "who make problems with their co-existence" or the Romany organisations.

She said she was trying to do for Romanies much more than those who only spoke, doing nothing.

Janackova said the town hall was trying to make order and repair houses in Bedriska.
"Unfortunately, it is a sort of waste of money. If anything, I would have to apologise to the whites or those living decently, not at the expense of the welfare state rather than to the Romanies, for making order and repairing the house of the local Romanies," Janackova said.

"I would have to apologise to the former for spending the town hall money on the repair of the houses and on the welfare payment for the latter," she added.
Janackova said she had only spoken about the Romanies who were residents of Bedriska.

"Since I did not have in mind any race, any ethnic group, any activists, I reject the allegations," Janackova said.

Romany organisations, former deputy ombudsman Anna Sabatova and former government human commissioner Petr Uhl want to sue Janackova over defamation of ethnic origin, race and conviction.

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Czech republic, Liana Janáčková



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