Czech women charged with promoting neo-Nazism plead innocent
On 5 January 2018, six women told a Czech court that they reject their indictment on charges of promoting and support the neo-Nazi movement "Resistance Women Unity" (RWU), either refusing to testify about their actions between 2007 and 2009 or making brief statements claiming they are innocent. The District Court for Prague 2 will continue to hear the case again on 21 February.
According to the indictment, the women contributed to organizing events supporting the neo-Nazi movement and/or to the production and distribution of materials promoting the RWU. The movement, according to the prosecutor, provided that support especially at events convened for ultra-right adherents.
RWU published invitations to such events through the Internet, as well as other materials. The events were held primarily in Central Bohemia, for example, in Kladno, Kutná Hora and Prague, as well as in Děčín.
The funds raised at these events were allegedly used to support the so-called "Prisoners of War", or imprisoned right-wing extremists. The indictment also accused the women of having organized, for example, "children's days" that were attended by right-wing extremists and their offspring.
Those on trial last week were Martina Bartošová, Eva Bittmannová, Martina Boriková, Zuzana Cvrčková, Michaela Čermáková and Michaela Dupová. "I disagree with this indictment," Cvrčková told the court.
"I am convinced of my innocence and I have committed no crime," Cvrčková testified. She also complained that the prosecution of the case has dragged on for too many years now.
Defendant Bartošová told the court that she had merely attended permitted public assemblies and rejected the idea that she had been promoting extremism. The other defendants did not want to make a statement about the case.
According to the previous version of the criminal code under which they were charged, the defendants face between three and eight years in prison if convicted. The case originally involved charges against 15 women.
The prosecution of two of the women was conditionally suspended when they confessed. Another two concluded plea bargains.
Five women have been acquitted, but because the prosecutor appealed those verdicts, their cases will be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The cases are closely connected with a raid performed by the Organized Crime Detection Unit that intervened against the topmost levels of the hierarchy of the Czech ultra-right.
During the first phase of that operation, 18 extremists were charged. Some of those prosecuted allegedly had relationships with the militant ultra-right organization White Justice, while others were suspected of plotting terrorist attacks or holding hate concerts.
The Czech Police have said in the past that the RWU was ideologically related to a similar women's organization in Hitler's Germany that existed until 1945, the ideological subtext of which was the alleged racial superiority of "Aryan" women. The RWU was first established in the Czech Republic in 2007.
The group's aim, according to its proclamations, was to bolster opposition against a system which, in its view, was "intentionally opposed to the long-term survival of white families." Some members of the RWU were also involved with the extremist Workers' Party, which was dissolved by the courts in 2010.
These cases are not the only protracted litigation connected with right-wing extremism that the Czech justice system is dealing with. Since 2010 the courts have been handling another case of promoting the National Resistance movement and convening various neo-Nazi events, actions in which former members of the Workers' Party and other alleged extremists were involved.
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