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Former Czech police officer from unit that verged on neo-Nazism on trial for extortion

Jihlava, 17.7.2012 20:00, (ROMEA)

After hearing the testimony of several witnesses, the trial of a group of three alleged extortioners in which former police officer Martin Foltýn reportedly played a role has been postponed by the District Court in Jihlava until September. The prosecution charges that the extortion was accompanied by an arson attack, threats, and torture. The court has acceded to a request from the defense that more evidence and expert evaluations be presented.

The trio of Martin Foltýn, Roman Motičák and Zdeněk Zapletal are expected to confess to extorting a 52-year-old veterinarian, Miloš Kucharovič of Velký Beranov (Jihlava district) during August and September last year. The organizer of the extortion was allegedly 38-year old Motičák, who owed more than CZK 1 million to Kucharovič, who had filed criminal charges against him for the money. Foltýn (age 34) figured in the case as the main performer of the extortion. A similar but smaller role was played by 30-year-old Zdeněk Zapletal of South Moravia. He is the only defendant not in custody.

Foltýn's attorney, Radek Ondruš, has cast doubt on the way in which police experts produced evidence from bodily fluids and has demanded the samples be retested. According to horse breeder Vít Picek, who testified today as a witness, Motičák had spoken of an arson attack on Kucharovič's home two days before it took place. "Motičák owes me alone about CZK 3.7 million, but I can't prove any other losses," Picek said. He believes the head of the group was obviously Motičák.

Foltýn previously worked for the police as part of the unofficial "Delta Team", a group of officers whom Czech Television revealed were using unprovoked aggression against foreigners and members of various minorities. Members of the commando unit also allegedly verged on holding neo-Nazi ideology. Some of them left the police after participating in an intervention against a Vietnamese man in Brno who passed away afterward.

Members of "Delta Team" staged photographs of themselves that featured blood and nudity. A dossier on six members of the formerly "elite" unit was compiled by the Police Inspection Authority, which monitored the activity of the unofficial "Delta Team" for a year and a half. The investigation resulted in just a single disciplinary punishment.

The investigation concluded that the police officers intervened with disproportionate brutality against foreigners and minorities in order to strengthen their own feelings of superiority. Everything took place under the influence of Nazi ideology.

"Some of the police officers investigated as part of that case were confirmed to have behaved so aggressively as to have been brutal," admits South Moravian Regional Police Director Tomáš Kužel. "In some cases disproportionate aggression was used, people were photographed in handcuffs and lying face down on the ground," state prosecutor Jan Megela said of the officers' actions. The officers' superiors evidently failed in this case, as the then-Deputy Director of the Police Inspection Authority, Dušan Brunclík, said on 27 July 2011 on the Czech Television program "News and Commentary" (video at http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ct24/domaci/131349-v-kauze-delta-tymu-zrejme-selhali-nadrizeni/).

Criminal charges related to the neo-Nazism were never filed. While the lawmen were said to be on the verge of neo-Nazism, they did not disseminate its ideas. Even though photographs have documented the officers exceeding their powers, there are said to be no reliable witnesses to their actions. Two of the officers are therefore able to continue serving in Zlín.

In one case in which the officers overdid it, Hoang Son Lam, a 43-year-old man who weighed less than 50 kilograms, did not survive a "Delta Team" intervention against him in the center of Brno. Three police officers and a female neighbor who participated in the violence against the Vietnamese man were sentenced to between three and 10 years in prison for their actions.

ČTK, František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, František Kostlán, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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