Czech trial of shooting at Romani music camp hears testimony about shooter's verbal abuse as well
Court testimony by another eyewitness to the 2016 shooting incident at a summer camp continued yesterday at the District Court in Děčín. Martin Kout is accused of having fired a gun and racially abused those attending a children's camp in 2016.
Those attending the camp were Romani. Kout has pleaded innocent and faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
The incident happened in the summer of 2016 at the location of a summer camp visited by a Romani choir. Those attending the camp have previously testified that the owner of land adjacent to the camp facility repeatedly fired a weapon into the air and shouted racist abuse at the Romani choir members.
"The children were, understandably, excited, so they were noisy when they were running past the neighbor's house, but it only lasted about a minute. The gentleman had an outburst in which he began to shout: 'You black gypsies go to hell!' and similar slogans," choir director Ida Kelarová said in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
"After that he fired into the air," Kelarová said. According to her, Kout fired his weapon repeatedly.
The choir director also alleged that Kout behaved aggressively on the camp grounds. The shooting, according to Peter Bílý, who was also at the camp, horrified the children.
"The youngest ones ran into the kitchen looking for us and crying. They said somebody had fired a gun at them, some man," Bílý testified in court yesterday.
Bílý said he was also present during the incident in which, according to him, Kout came to the camp facility and got into an argument with one of the organizers. "He called him a 'fucking gypsy and a fag'," Bílý testified.
Kout claims to have fired his weapon into the air as part of training his dog. His family has lived in the home as their main residence for about eight years.
Before they moved in full time, the property served as the family's vacation cottage. Kout's neighbor, Přemysl Mastík, confirmed Kout's family members' testimony that noise can be heard from the camp facilities almost constantly.
Mastík testified that when the choir was at the camp in 2016 they were noisy too. "[The noise] was above the norm of what is tolerable, he testified.
"It was commented on again by the citizens of Jiřetín, who asked what was going on - the drums could be heard on the town square," testified Mastík, noting that the noise from the camp was constant with the exception of meal breaks. The hearing will continue in mid-June with a review of documentary evidence.
The court has also asked for information about whether any misdemeanor proceedings were dealt with in connection with the noise. The court originally convicted sentenced Kout without a hearing.
The defendant objected and the trial is now underway before the judge. Kelarová has complained that police were inactive in connection with the incident, as they never visited the scene after the shooting was reported and made light of it.
The Romani children involved have sent an open letter to the police and to Czech PM Andrej Babiš in which they remind him of the fact that the police have yet to apologize. Police mistakes in the case have been confirmed by the Public Defender of Rights, Anna Šabatová.
From the Public Defender's report on the police investigation in March 2017 it follows that the police made mistakes when they failed to visit the crime scene after being called and failed to verify whether those attending the camp might still be in danger somehow. The Public Defender of Rights called the police approach to the case dilatory.
- Czech Public Defender of Rights says police failed in their response to shooting at children's camp
- Czech court holds trial of man who threatened Romani children with gunfire at summer camp
- Czech Police confirm local officers did not proceed absolutely correctly in case of gunfire near Romani children's camp
- Czech Republic: Man who fired weapon near Romani summer camp apologizes
- For a third time, Slovak court acquits police of brutalizing Romani children a decade ago, prosecutor appealing
- Czech fan of ultra-nationalist party gets suspended sentence for wearing Nazi symbols to demonstration
- "Czechs Are Helping" Initiative says number of families willing to house children from Greek refugee camps is rising, Interior Minister unmoved
- Romani rapper Alex Dzurko's new video criticizes "Facebook warriors" and racists, laments social divisions
- Czech trial begins of brutal, allegedly racially-motivated assault by non-Romani adults on Romani children
- Thirty years of freedom: Roma in the Czech Republic wanted totalitarianism to end, value the chance to do business, lament antigypsyism
- Czech Regional Court returns online hate speech case about death threats against first-graders to lower court, more evidence needed
- Michal Mižigár: What democracy brought us Romani people in the Czech Republic in the 1990s
- Lifeguard gets state honors from Czech President for injuries sustained in brawl that sparked ultra-right anti-Romani demonstration
- Pavel Botoš: Who will stop the use of terms like "cigoši" in the Czech Republic?
- Iveta Bílková: Czech society should not tolerate words like "Cigán", "Cigoši", etc.
- Roma are most frequently targeted by hatred on the Czech Internet, experts say the law applies online too