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Leading Czech right-wing extremist acquitted for lack of evidence

Most, 11.9.2013 15:29, (ROMEA)
Lucie Šlégrová.  (Photo: František Kostlán)
Lucie Šlégrová. (Photo: František Kostlán)

News server Deník.cz reported last week that right-wing extremist Lucie Šlégrová, one of the organizers of an attempted pogrom in 2008 on Romani people living at the Janov housing estate in the Czech town of Litvínov, has won a complicated, lengthy trial at the  court of first instance in Most. Šlégrová, who was once an influential member of the neo-Nazi Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS), which has since been dissolved by court order, faced charges of promoting German Nazism, which is banned.

The prosecution argued that Šlégrová publicly declared her affiliation with Nazism in a speech she gave at a DS rally at the Janov housing estate in November 2010 commemorating the 2008 pogrom attempt. Judge Bohumila Huňáčková involved experts on extremism in the trial and has now acquitted Šlégrová for lack of evidence.

Šlégrová was reportedly surprised by the verdict, because she had many objections to the trial and to the criticisms of her speech made by some of the expert witnesses. If convicted, she could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison. She is now waiting to learn whether the state prosecutor will appeal the verdict.  

According to Michal Mazel, an expert on extremism, Šlégrová espoused both antisemitism and neo-Nazism continuing the ideology of German Nazism in her 2010 speech at the Janov housing estate. Expert witness Josef Zouhar, who was called by the defense, found nothing illegal in that speech.

A third expert, Petra Papiežová Vejvodová, sided with Mazel's opinion. Šlégrová's defense was that her political speech merely criticized the government and advocated the ideas of Czech National Socialism, which have also been espoused by former Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš and the current head of the National Socialists, former Czech PM Jiří Paroubek.

The trial was followed nationwide after Šlégrová's attorney, Petr Kočí, questioned the person of expert witness Michal Mazel, arguing that as a Jew, Mazel could not be impartial when evaluating Šlégrová's speech. Kočí was subsequently denounced as bigoted, crass, and shameless for raising such an objection. 

Mazel is not in fact Jewish, but even if he were, it would not mean he could not be impartial. For Mazel the experience was the last straw and meant the end of his expert witness career, as he had been constantly harassed and persecuted prior to the trial by various members of the ultra-right and their proponents, primarily over his evaluations of right-wing extremism.

Kočí was punished by the Czech Bar Association with a one-year ban on practicing law and gave up Šlégrová's defense. She remained without a defense attorney for the rest of the trial.

František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Antisemitismus, Extremism, Neo-Nazism, Racism, Soud, zprávy, Most, Nacionalismus, neonacista, nepokoje, obvinění, obžaloba, proces, Projevy, Romové, rozsudek, Šíření nenávisti a nesnášenlivosti, Czech republic, news, Roma, Šikana, Workers Party, Židé, Mazel Michal



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