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Sri Lankans victims of hate crimes in Prague, participant from a Workers’ Party action now in custody

Prague, 3.7.2009 20:03, (ROMEA)

On Friday, 19 June, two Sri Lankan citizens were attacked because of their race in front of the Misch Masch disco in Prague. Police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan confirmed to the web server Romea.cz that the attack was racially motivated.

"The incident occurred around 10:30 PM. The Sri Lankan citizens went to a bar on Veletržní street in Prague, where they experienced a clash with some people who took exception to their skin color,” Hulan told Romea.cz. "The victims preferred to leave the bar, but the group pursued them outside and physically attacked them. They sustained serious injuries including head wounds.”

According to information from the Prague emergency services, the attack occurred in front of the Misch Masch disco. "On Friday, 19 June we answered a call around 10:30 PM that two people had been attacked. One man, born in 1978, was treated for a head laceration and a fractured arm and was transported to Na Františku Hospital," Klára Fikejzová of Prague’s emergency services told Romea.cz. The other man, born in 1975, sustained head wounds.

Police have arrested a total of five attackers, all of whom have been previously sentenced for violent crimes. "All five people were taken into custody and are charged with attempting the crime of battery with a racial motivation resulting in serious harm and the crime of rioting," Hulan said.

According to information on the web server Antifa.cz, one of the attackers is Michal Sýkora, nicknamed Voják (“Soldier”), who is “famed” as one of those who attacked an anti-fascist concert at the Modrá vopice club in the Prague district of Vysočany in 2007, destroying a 16-year-old girl’s lower jaw with a baseball bat. He is also known for other violent attacks. Until last week, Sýkora was an employee of Prague Security Group, a private security firm which used harsh tactics against those living at the Milada squat in Prague on 30 June.

Sýkora has also frequently participated in Workers’ Party actions. The Antifa.cz web server drew attention to his participation at the Workers’ Party demonstration in Prague on 1 May 2008, where he was seen together with another famous neo-Nazi, Filip Vávra.

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Hate crimes are any violent crimes committed against someone due to his or her membership in a certain group of people linked by a common (usually unchangeable) characteristic. Such characteristics can include either actual or apparent membership in a race, ethnic or national group, skin color, age, sexual orientation, religion or lack thereof, political convictions, or membership in a particular social group.

Violence motivated by hate can take various forms. Attacks can be verbal or physical and can include terror, extortion, vandalism and desecration.

If you are at risk of hate crime or have already survived a hate crime, you can turn to either the ROMEA or In Iustitia NGOs. We can provide you with a one-time consultation or with long-term support for your case. Write to romea@romea.cz or call 257 329 667.

Gwendolyn Albert, ROMEA, ROMEA, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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