Czech court frees women charged with promoting Nazism more than a decade ago
On Friday, 27 September, the District Court for Prague 2 freed six women charged with promoting and supporting the neo-Nazi Resistance Women Unity (RWU) movement. Some of the actions they had committed, according to the court, did not rise to the level of a felony, while in the case of other actions it could not be proved that the defendants were the perpetrators.
For some of the crimes described, the effect of their criminality has now expired, the judge said. The verdict has yet to take effect, which means the prosecutor could theoretically appeal.
The women have always claimed their actions were not criminal and said they believed their prosecution was tendentious. Z. Cvrčková, M. Bartošová, M. Čermáková, M. Boriková, M. Dupová and E. Bittmannová were all charged with organizing events supporting the neo-Nazi movement or with producing and distributing materials promoting the RWU.
The neo-Nazi movement, according to the prosecutor, was supported by the women in particular through events organized for adherents of the ultra-right and by publishing their invitations to events and other materials through the Internet. According to the case file, the crimes were all committed between 2007 and 2009.
The events were held mostly in Central Bohemia - Kladno, Kutná Hora, Prague - and also in the northern town of Děčín. The money raised at the events was then allegedly used to support imprisoned neo-Nazis, who call themselves "Prisoners of War".
Police accused the RWU members of organizing a neo-Nazi event for St. Nicholas Day in Prague and a neo-Nazi children's day at a recreation center near Kutná Hora. Those events were attended by ultra-rightists with their children.
According to detectives, the female members of the movement promoted neo-Nazism at these events and also sold promotional items for their movement to support their fellow-travelers. The court concluded that some of the defendants actually were members of the movement.
"The court believes Ms Bittmannová is the only defendant who did not promote the RWU," the judge said when announcing her verdict. "Given that the defendants have not radicalized, that a great deal of time has passed since these events, that they are living proper lives, that they have children and employment, the court believes the criminality of what previously happened has expired."
All of the women rejected the charges against them, and in their closing remarks they pointed out that police officers had been present at the events they had attended who could have intervened if they had been committing a crime. The defendants also said they considered their prosecution tendentious and created on the basis of a political commission.
The defendants also pointed out that the criminal procedure had been underway for more than seven years. "I decidedly do not feel guilty, I never committed a crime," one of the defendants said recently when asked about the case.
The police previously reported that the RWU was ideologically carrying on the work of a similar women's organization from Hitler's Germany that existed until 1945 and was based on the racial superiority of "Aryan" women. It was established in the Czech Republic in 2007.
The RWU's declared aim was to beef up resistance to a system which they believe is "targeted against the long-term survival of white families." Some members of the RWU were also involved with the Workers' Party, an extremist party that was dissolved by the courts in 2010.
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