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Czech senator dismisses activists' accusations of racism

Ostrava, North Moravia/Prague, 10.7.2007 16:27, (CTK)

The Czech League Against Anti-semitism today accused Liana Janackova, a senator and mayor of Ostrava's Marianske Hory district, of racist utterances about Romanies, which Janackova has resolutely dismissed.

The League refers to an audio recording on which Janackova (Independents) allegedly speaks about a high electric fence, dynamite and blasts in connection with Romanies.
Janackova told journalists that the recording must be a fake. She said some of the utterances in question have been torn out of context.

She said she might have used such words at a meeting with the old residents of the local neighbourhood Bedriska where the town hall settled Romanies recently. She asked the old residents, dissatisfied with the arrival of the Romany neighbours, what in their opinion she should do about it.

"I have nowhere to settle them [Romanies]. I understand that this is simply unjust towards you, but otherwise I'd really have to take a piece of dynamite and blast them off...," a female voice, which the League insists is Janackova's, says on the poor-quality recording.

Janackova ruled out having used words such as dynamite and blast off. "I've never put it this way," she said.

On the recording, disclosed on the  website, she also allegedly says "I disagree with any kind of integration. I'm a racist, unfortunately. I disagree with the integration of Gypsies and with their settlement across the [Marianske Hory] district. Unfortunately, we've chosen the Bedriska locality, that is why they will be there, with a high fence, an electric one. I don't care, I'll openly shout this to the whole world."

Janackova today denied having presented herself as a racist. She said the affair has been manipulated. She said her rival, former mayor Radomir Michniak (Civic Democrats, ODS), is probably behind it.

Janackova said she did not attend the local town hall housing department's meeting in March 2006 where the recording was allegedly made, as she was staying in the Senate in Prague at the time.

Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka (ODS) said that Janackova's alleged controversial utterances might be discussed by the Senate's mandate and immunity committee if an official complaint were lodged.

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