Czech man convicted of racially motivated murder wants a retrial
Vlastimil Pechanec, who was sentenced in 2003 to 17 years in prison for the racially motivated murder of a Romani man at a discotheque in the Czech town of Svitavy, has filed a motion for a retrial. Olga Mičanová, spokesperson for the court in Hradec Králové, informed the Czech News Agency of the motion last week.
The court should review his motion on 22 April. Pechanec was conditionally released from prison last June on six years' probation.
"There is new evidence which the convicted party believes might form the basis of a possibly different conclusion regarding his guilt, an expert opinion from the field of forensic biology and genetics," Mičanová said. Pechanec mentioned he would seek a retrial when he was released.
At the time of his release, Pechanec continued to insist that he is innocent. A former member of the skinhead movement, he was 22 years old when he was charged with stabbing a local 30-year-old Romani man, Otto Absolon, to death after a verbal skirmish.
In 2003 the High Court in Prague sentenced him to 17 years in prison. The long sentence was justified because the crime was found to have been racially motivated and because expert opinions said Pechanec would not be easy to rehabilitate.
Pechanec had two previous convictions for rioting and grievous bodily harm on his record at the time. The victim, Mr Absolon, had two young children at the time of his death with his common-law wife, who then succumbed in the autumn of 2002 to cancer.
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