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August 22, 2019
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Romani musician Ida Kelarová on verdict against gunman: We're disappointed the Czech court ignored the racist motivation

1.11.2018 16:27
Ida Kelarová (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Ida Kelarová (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

"We are disappointed the court did not assess Mr Kout's behavior as motivated by racism, but just as rioting," Ida Kelarová told news server Romea.cz when asked for her reaction to the court verdict against Martin Kout, who fired warning shots from a gun in 2016 during a summer camp in Jiřetín pod Jedlovou attended by the Romani children's choir Čhavorenge and who also shouted abuse at the camp attendees. Kout has been convicted by the District Court in Děčín and given a six-month conditional sentence, suspended for one year, and had his weapon confiscated.

Those attending the camp testified that Kout, who owns property abutting the grounds of the camp, repeatedly fired into the air and castigated the children with racist abuse. "We will not appeal, the children had to travel all the way from Bardějov for the hearing, we are all tired of it. We are glad that at least some verdict exists, even if it took more than two years from the time those shots were fired to get it. Now we still need our energy to get an answer to the question of why, when we called the 158 line for the police, they never came to the scene. The children sent an open letter asking that question to the responsible officials and are still waiting for an answer, nobody has answered their question," Kelarová told news server Romea.cz.

The letter, which was sent at the beginning of April, was addressed to the police and to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and describes both the abuse and the warning shots. "We were afraid somebody would attack us. There were very young children with us. That person fired his gun in the air twice in a row, in the morning during our exercises. He fired it thee times, then ran into the kitchen and tried to provoke Uncle Dežo into fighting with him. We were afraid and Aunt Ida called 158. We were the most shocked when the police never arrived. The people who are supposed to protect us did not come for us. Later we heard the recording from the police station in Varnsdorf, where the police officer says about the gunfire at our camp that 'We won't turn this into a Western.'," the letter reads.

In September 2017, the press spokesperson for the General Inspection of the Security Forces (GIBS), Radka Sandorová, told news server Romea.cz that GIBS had not ascertained any facts that would lead them to suspect a crime had been committed by the intervening members of the Police of the Czech Republic with respect to this incident. She said the case file had been sent to the director of the Ústecký Regional Police Directorate to assess any eventual mistakes.

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Čhavorenge, Ida Kelarová, Policie, Soud



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