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Police: Arsonists did not use gasoline in attack on home in Bedřiška settlement

Ostrava, 19.3.2010 17:07, (ROMEA)

Police technicians testing the Molotov cocktail thrown into a Roma-occupied home in the Bedřiška settlement of Ostrava have ruled out an ordinary automobile gasoline or gasoline mixture as the contents. Darina Majková, spokesperson for the Moravian-Silesian police, broke the news to the Czech Press Agency today. Police had already previously released the information that the attackers used a first-class combustible.

"Detectives are continuing to work intensively on the 14 March case,” Majková said, adding that police specialists are evaluating evidence from the crime scene. They have also started collaborating with court-appointed experts. "We still have long, time-intensive process ahead of us,” Majková said.

An arsonist or arsonists attacked the home during the early morning hours of Sunday. A Molotov cocktail containing a highly flammable liquid crashed through the window of a room in which a teenage girl was sleeping. The bottle did not break and the chemicals it contained did not catch fire. A section of carpet caught fire from the wick. The girl, who was awoken by the breaking glass, managed to put out the fire.

Since Thursday, police officers have been investigating the attack as attempted murder. The legal qualification of the crime was changed from an initial suspicion of reckless endangerment. While reckless endangerment carries a sentence of between three and eight years, attempted murder carries a sentence of between 15 to 20 years or possibly even an extraordinary sentence.

Police officers are still working with several possible motives for the attack, which could have been related to the victims’ business dealings or interpersonal relationships. Racial motivation is also being considered, as is the possibility that the attack was random.

Last April arsonists attacked the home of a Romani family in Vítkov and injured three people. The most seriously injured was little Natálka, who was not quite two years old at the time and who suffered extensive second and third-degree burns over 80 % of her body.

The trial of the four right-wing extremists from the Bruntál and Opava districts indicted in the Vítkov attack will start at the Regional Court in Ostrava on 11 May. The men are charged with the racially motivated attempted murder of multiple individuals, one of them a child. They face up to 15 years in prison but could also receive extraordinary sentencing or life in prison.

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