Czech town hall decides local election slogans about "pests" and "poison" were not even misdemeanors
The City of Most has shelved its investigation into the case of election campaign materials used by a movement called "Open City Hall Most" that are suspected of having a racist subtext. According to City Hall, during the run-up to last year's local elections it was not a misdemeanor when the movement used the slogan "Poison isn't strong enough for these pests" alongside the slogan "Zero tolerance for inadaptables".
News server Romea.cz has seen the notice of the decision. Representatives of the movement defended themselves at the time by claiming the slogan referred to actual bug or rat infestations and that the combining of the slogans had been an unfortunate accident.
Romani community member Monika Mihaličková, whose report of the slogan to authorities initiated a criminal investigation into the issue, commented on the decision as follows: "The Czech authorities have abandoned any kind of protection of people against the hateful, racist remarks being made by politicians in the public arena. Everybody knows whom that slogan was aimed at."
"What will happen next?" she asked. "Will these politicians call for us to be sent to the gas chambers, or to concentration camps?"
"All I can reiterate is what I said during my appearance in the Senate on the occasion of the Remembrance Day for Holocaust Victims and the Prevention of Crimes Against Humanity ... In the Czech Republic there is no preliminary injunctive relief available for election campaigns, which is a common institution in other European countries," she claimed.
"The decision by Most City Hall has just confirmed the lack of protection," Mihaličková said, adding that she would be consulting lawyers about what to do next. The case was investigated by police, who closed it by concluding that "the poster at issue can be understood as a composition aimed against Romani people, but it is not a case of a hateful call for anything concrete to be done against any group or activity or for the restriction of liberties and rights."
The decision by police was also examined by the Public Prosecutor, who found no errors in the police procedure and confirmed that the case should be addressed by Most City Hall on suspicion of being a misdemeanor. "The procedural situation remains unchanged," Most district prosecutor Václav Richter told the daily Mladá fronta DNES in May.
"No felony was committed by this behavior, but it is possible to assess it as a misdemeanor," Richter said. Most City Hall has now decided this behavior did not rise to the level of a misdemeanor.
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