Draft Czech intelligence report: Anti-Roma campaign of 2013 was a significant ultra-right action
Czech news weekly TÝDEN.cz reports that during the year 2013, extremists in the Czech Republic organized 272 events, 132 of which were organized by right-wing extremists and 140 of which were organized by left-wing extremists. The number of extremism-related crimes rose slightly to 217 cases, while two persons were given prison sentences without the possibility of parole for racially-motivated crimes, 62 were put on probation, and four persons were sentenced to performing community service work.
Five of the convicted perpetrators were juveniles and 10 were women. Those are the findings of a draft version of the Report on Extremism on the Territory of the Czech Republic in 2013 which TÝDEN.cz has seen.
The report states that a significant event of 2013 was the anti-Romani campaign waged from May through October, which involved 26 events both in Prague and in the Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc, Plzeň, South Bohemian, and Ústí Regions. These assemblies proved there is an increased risk that local residents who are not currently members of extremist group structures will join such events.
Typical examples were the case of the protests at the Máj housing estate in České Budějovice and demonstrations held in places that are not normally considered high-risk areas. One case in particular stood out, that of 24 August 2013, the date on which ultra-right organizations agreed to join forces and attempted to organize more than one simultaneous protest around the country.
The purpose of the event, among other things, was to disperse police forces around the country and demonstrate the ultra-right's strength and unity. The assemblies "against police brutality and Romani crime" were held in several places under the rubric of various organizers and were attended by approximately 1 500 - 2 000 people total.
Members of the police force became a target of those protests as well, and right-wing extremists also mobilized a response from the ultra-left scene, with parallel pro-Romani assemblies, carnivals and "happenings" also taking place in those places. Extremists on both the left and right were most frequently active in the Moravian-Silesian Region, Prague, and the Ústí Region, all of which also show the highest incidence of extremist crime.
"Last year we found a slight growth in extremist-related crime, a total of 217 felonies. The growth was due in particular to a series of demonstrations and accompanying riots and violence on the part of those participating," the report reads.
Two people were sentenced to prison last year without the possibility of parole for racially motivated felonies; three of the extremist crime cases involved recidivists. The courts sentenced 62 persons to probation and, compared to 2012, reduced the number of persons sentenced to public benefit work to four cases compared to 19 in 2012 ( or 11 in 2011 and 16 in 2010).
Of those convicted last year, only five were juveniles and 10 were women. The report says a total of 86 persons were convicted of perpetrating crimes during the anti-Romani demonstrations, while another 51 were primarily suspected of committing attacks on public officials or rioting.
A total of 127 persons committed misdemeanors, in particular by failing to obey a public official's instructions. Of the 132 events convened by members of the right-wing extremist scene, 68 were public assemblies or demonstrations, 36 were concerts, and 28 were events that are usually private such as lectures, meetings and negotiations.
In addition to the anti-Romani assemblies, new alternative forms of activism were documented which are related to the transformation of the ultra-right scene and the work of all its various initiatives. The extremist movement promoters who broke the law included members of the armed forces and police.
The Security Forces Inspector-General investigated a total of four such cases. Two involved the prison services, one of which involved the suspicion that a person who wore a ring with a swastika on it was supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms, but that charge was not upheld.
In the second case, a member of the prison services was suspected of having publicly promoted racism, but the incident did not rise to the level of a felony and will only be found to be a possible disciplinary violation. In cases involving the Police of the Czech Republic last year, the first such case involved a police officer suspected of unauthorized weapons possession and allegedly committing possible displays of extremism.
"In the area of extremism in 2013 the Security Forces Inspector-General has listed a single case that met the legal conditions for initiating a criminal proceedings per section 158(3) of the Criminal Code. The proceedings in that case is ongoing. Criminal proceedings in that matter are being conducted against several members of the Police of the Czech Republic on suspicion of the especially serious crime of 'abusing the powers of a public official per section 329 of the Criminal Code', which they are alleged to have committed while on duty through their repeated, racially-motivated physical and verbal assaults against persons of Romani nationality. No other cases of illegal behavior, or specifically, of extremism-related felonies were found by the Security Forces Inspector-General in 2013," the report reads.
With respect to the Army, military police listed three cases in 2013 involving suspicions of committing illegal behavior with an extremist subtext. The first case was one of racist insults being made at an army facility, the second concerned tatoos of banned symbols on a professional soldier's body that were revealed during a television broadcast, and the third case was one of a professional soldier arrested by state police for imitating the Nazi salute and shouting racist slogans in public.
Most perpetrators of felonies with extremist subtexts are graduates of technical training schools, followed by people who have never completed any kind of secondary education. The report on extremism states that the ultra-left and ultra-right scenes in the country are stabilized, but are internally fragmented by various ideological currents and personal animosities.
The left-wing extremist scene is said to be dominated by anarchism, and the right-wing scene is said to be dominated by the National Socialist movement. The membership base of the ultra-right fluctuates around 5 000 persons, with a hard core of about 150 activists and approximately 50 leading figures.
While membership in the ultra-left stream is harder to estimate, the report says its numbers are similar. The leading group among the ultra-right is the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its offshoot, the Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM).
In addition there are other, much less important groups such as the Autonomous Nationalists (Autonomní nacionalisté,), the Czech Lions (Čeští lvi), the Free Resistance (Svobodný odpor) and other, smaller, unorganized groupings comprised of several dozen active individuals (or in some places, just individuals). Part of the militant, radical scene inclines toward acquiring and stockpiling weapons, and so-called training camps have also been documented.
In November 2013 the Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zločinu) took action in a case of unauthorized weapons possession and stockpiling of a larger amount of munitions committed by a five-member group of extremists, one of whom was a soldier. The group was armed, organized trainings, and procured munitions.
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