Slovak MP insulted Romani people and spread xenophobia, loses his seat after being convicted of felony defamation
Milan Mazurek, an MP for the fascist "Kotleba-People's Party Our Slovakia" (Kotleba-Lidová strana Naše Slovensko, or LSNS), has lost his seat in Slovakia's unicameral legislature. On 3 September the Supreme Court upheld a lower court verdict finding that the xenophobic remarks Mazurek had made on a radio program constituted a felony.
According to the Slovak media, Mazurek is the first MP to lose a seat due to a conviction of any kind in Slovakia. He faced charges over remarks he made on a program broadcast by a private regional radio station in 2016, where he spoke about the alleged "inadaptability" of ethnic Roma in association with the committing of vandalism and violence, insulted them, and also alleged that Islamic migrants are associated with danger.
The first-instance court fined him EUR 5 000 for making those remarks. Both the MP and the prosecutor appealed that verdict.
Mazurek defended himself to the Supreme Court by saying he had been exercising his freedom of speech, challenging the expert opinion submitted by the prosecution as well as the very authenticity of the audio recording of the radio debate on which the first-instance court based its decision. The Supreme Court then ruled the first-instance verdict lawful and also increased the fine to EUR 10 000.
According to the Slovak Constitution, an MP loses his or her seat if a court finds the MP guilty of an intentionally-committed felony. The misconduct of which Mazurek has been convicted is just such a crime.
After the verdict was announced, he told journalists that he does not regret the remarks. "I have nothing to be sorry for," he said.
"I was just speaking the truth," Mazurek claimed. His attorney announced he would be filing for extraordinary remedy against the Supreme Court decision, but that will not influence the fact that the verdict pronounced has already taken effect.
Marian Kotleba, chair of the LSNS, has criticized the decision. "The real punishment is for MP Mazurek to lose his seat," he said.
"This cannot be perceived as anything but an attempt to silence one of the most active MPs in the National Assembly," Kotleba said. However, in July the Supreme Court upheld the decision of a lower court acquitting a different LSNS MP, Stanislav Mizík, in association with xenophobic remarks he made on social media.
Mizík faced charges over having alleged that figures given high state honors in 2017 by then-President Andrej Kiska were of Jewish origin. According to the court, the prosecution did not prove that Mizík himself was actually the author of the social media post at issue.
This past spring the Supreme Court also rejected a motion from the Prosecutor General to dissolve the LSNS, which according to public opinion polls is the country's third most popular party. Back then the court rejected all the main arguments put forward by the Office of the Prosecutor General, which had previously described the LSNS as extremist.
The LSNS makes no secret of its sympathy for the wartime Slovak State, which was allied with Nazi Germany. The party also defines itself as opposed to EU and NATO membership and as against the Romani minority as such.
- Slovak Fascists want to change laws about online media to prevent libel
- European Roma Rights Centre gives legal aid to victims alleging Slovak police brutality
- Slovak Constitutional Court awards compensation to Roma for 13-year court case - but the discrimination sued over still has no final ruling
- Slovakia: Video of police intervention against Roma at gas station goes viral, sparks protests
- Slovak President: The Holocaust of the Roma cannot be forgotten, especially when hatred is becoming a political tool once more
- Infamous housing estate in Slovakia is finally turning around - continued
- Educator Martin Kaleja: From the Romani settlements in Slovakia to the Czech academic world
- Infamous housing estate in Slovakia is finally turning around
- Slovakia: Romani girl from settlement now champion runner in her region
- Slovak homeowner considers selling to Roma, so his neighbors graffiti his house and puncture his tires
- Slovakia: Dozens of children from orphanage ending up in psychiatric care - is it a business?
- Slovak Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities: We will focus on education and employment
- Czech film festival visited by seven Romani children from Slovak settlements to promote "Silent Days"
- Slovak Police arrest Czech citizen and two Slovak citizens on suspicion of extremism
- Slovak court grants early release to vigilante who murdered three Roma at their home, prosecutor complains
- Zeljko Jovanovic: The New Roma Politics of Self-Determination and Unity
- The disinformation pandemic: Who are the Czech "anti-maskers", and could they seize power?
- LIVE BROADCAST: Elena Gorolová and European Commission Vice-President Jourová open international conference on anti-Roma racism
- Czech Prosecutor General appeals case to Supreme Court, says antisemitic death threats are a crime, not a misdemeanor
- Romani MP in Spain proposes improving Roma access to education and adding anti-Romani bias to the Criminal Code
- Czech MP protesting measures to stem COVID-19 pandemic is a trafficker in poverty with a history of anti-Romani racism
- LIVE NOW: Second day of conference on hate speech against Roma and Sinti in the media and how to combat it
- Mayor of Czech town apologizes after bureaucrat recommends application to use the town logo be rejected because she believed the applicant to be Romani
- LIVE BROADCAST TODAY AND TOMORROW: Two-day conference on hate speech against Roma and Sinti in the media and how to fight it
- Czech ombudsman attacks ROMEA organization for criticizing racist joke by incoming Chief Public Health Officer
- Incoming Czech Chief Public Health Officer apologizes to Romani people for racist joke
- Brand-new Czech Chief Public Health Officer has a history of anti-Romani racism in her previous public communications about COVID-19