Man who gave Nazi salute at anti-EU demonstration in Czech capital fined and given suspended sentence
Czech Television reports that a 43-year-old man has been given a six month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for giving the Nazi salute at an April event organized by the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement in the center of Prague. The verdict has yet to take effect.
The man must also pay a fine of CZK 30 000 [EUR 1 200]. Pavla Hájková, spokesperson for the District Court for Prague 1, confirmed the news.
It is possible to appeal court orders, and if the defendant does appeal, a trial would be held. He was found guilty of expressing sympathy for a movement aiming to suppress human rights and freedoms.
The maximum prison sentence for that charge is three years in prison. On 25 April the man was filmed giving the Nazi salute at an assembly organized on Wenceslas Square by the SPD.
The police announced later that day that they had identified him. Officers then used an accelerated pre-trial procedure for the case.
The demonstration against what the SPD movement called the "dictatorship of the European Union" was held to launch their campaign for the European Parliament. The leader of the movement, MP Tomio Okamura, appeared at the assembly along with the head of the extreme-right National Rally party in France, Marine Le Pen, and the head of the extreme-right Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders.
During the event there were altercations between adherents of the SPD and those opposed to the movement. Riot police pushed the people demonstrating against the SPD away from the scene of the event.
Officers then arrested 10 counter-protesters for failing to obey the instructions of a public official. Police have also begun a criminal proceedings against a 46-year-old woman who, at the same assembly, wore jewelry featuring the Nazi swastika.
Detectives say that by wearing the jewelry she was publicly expressing her sympathy for Nazism. The investigation of that case has yet to be closed.
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