The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a three-year jail sentence for Czech musician Michal Moravec, arrested earlier this year in a nationwide crackdown against neo-Nazis. Moravec had appealed a verdict by a regional court which found him guilty of spreading racist propaganda at neo-Nazi concerts. He was the author of lyrics which experts described as openly racist and wrote the sleeve notes to a CD called Triumph of the Will where he glorified the Nazi philosophy. Moravec tried to defend himself by saying that some of the offensive words were the result of mispronunciation.
In his first visit to Brussels since being appointed Czech prime minister,
Petr Nečas became embroiled in the ongoing row over France’s
repatriations of Roma. Ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, Mr Nečas backed
France’s position saying that each EU member state should be able to
enforce its own laws, and the EU should not interfere in what is to a
certain extent a French internal political question. However, the Czech
prime minister later said he had purposefully avoided any evaluation of the
steps recently taken by the French government.
During a three-day visit to Brussels, the Czech prime minister is also taking part in a European Union summit on Thursday, and will meet the secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Closing speeches of the prosecution, defence counsels and defendants in
the Vítkov case, in which four men stand accused of a firebomb attack on a
Roma family, will be heard in the first week of October. A court in Ostrava
on Thursday finished hearing evidence and adjourned the trial until October
5 and 6.
The men allegedly threw fire bombs into the Roma’s home in Vítkov, northern Moravia in April 2009. A two year-old girl suffered severe burns in the attack and doctors say it will permanently affect her health. If found guilty, the four men could be given life sentences.
Prime Minister Nečas says he plans to raise the question of Canada’s visa requirement for Czech citizens at Thursday’s EU meeting, which will also be attended by the bloc’s foreign ministers. Mr Nečas told reporters on Wednesday that Prague regarded the matter as one of European solidarity. The Canadian government introduced visas for Czechs in July 2009 following an increase in the number of asylum applications from Czech Romanies. The European Commission floated the idea of imposing a visa requirement on Canadian diplomats, but as yet has not done so.
A key witness in the case of a premeditated arson attack against a Roma family which left a two-year old scarred for life has refused to take the stand saying he feared for his life and that of his family. The man, who works as a voluntary fire fighter, helped the police trace the four culprits responsible for the attack in Vitkov after overhearing a phone conversation in which there was a clear reference to the planned attack. On Tuesday he told an Ostrava court he would not stand as witness after receiving death threats. Four right-wing extremists have been charged with attempted murder and face 15 years in prison.
Far-right extremists on Saturday evening attacked Left-wing demonstrators in the northwest Bohemian town of Most who were protesting against the lifting of mining limits in the area. Police were able to keep around 15 right-wing extremists away from the activists in a first attempt but a brawl later broke out between the two groups at a local restaurant. Five right-wing extremists were arrested. Earlier, three Leftist activists were also arrested for damaging property during the march.
The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, says the authorities in France will take a far more sensitive approach in future, following the fiery debate that followed the country’s recent expulsion of Romanies from Romania. Mr Schwarzenberg made the comments at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday. He recently became involved in a diplomatic spat with Paris, after suggesting there could have been a racist dimension to the expulsions.
The Civic Democratic Party has come up with a plan which would help curb abuse of the welfare system. The proposal, presented by Prime Minister Petr Nečas, entails giving all unemployed persons registered at employment offices a job offer within a month. Should they reject the offer the state would stop paying social insurance on their behalf and they would no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits. The job offer might involve requalification, further education or community work.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
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