Czech state prosecutor indicts four people over vandalizing "HateFree" businesses
On 19 April, Czech Television reported on its website that the Czech state prosecutor has agreed with a police proposal to indict four people on charges of spray-painting cafés and shops involved with the Czech Government's "HateFree" project. The four face accusations not just of property damage, but also of displaying sympathy for movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms.
The perpetrators allegedly painted neo-Nazi symbols on the businesses. The case will be handled by the Prague 3 District Court, which has not yet scheduled the trial.
If convicted, the perpetrators face up to three years in prison. The libellous messages appeared on the facades of several businesses involved in the Czech Government's "HateFree" campaign in the late night hours of 23 April and early morning hours of 24 April 2016.
The vandals targeted, for example, firms on Francouzská Street, Jiřího z Poděbrad Square, and Vinohradská Street. The perpetrators spray-painted, among other things, the words "Smrt Hate Free" ("Death to Hate Free") on the businesses.
According to previously-reported information, they apparently chose the places because their owners were promoting tolerance toward minorities and refugees by displaying a "HateFree" sticker. The spray-painters also tagged the vestibule of the metro station at Karlovo náměstí.
The symbols and texts they created were then researched by experts. Police say those experts came to the conclusion that the content of the graffiti was a display of sympathy for existing neo-Nazi movements that espouse the legacy of Nazi Germany.
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