An appellate court in Olomouc has handed out sentences of five and six years to two men who beat to death a homeless man in the city of Prostějov late last year. The two men had appealed an earlier ruling by a regional court which sent the main culprit to a year and a half in prison and gave his accomplice a suspended sentence only. Both appealed the verdict, which was benevolent on the grounds of the victims poor state of health which the judge said had contributed to his death. The appellate court ruled the two men were to be held fully responsible for the result of the grievous injuries they has inflicted.
Three suspects charged with beating a homeless man to death last year, appeared for the first time in court on Monday. Josef Král, Jiří Znojil, both 19, and 25-year-old suspect Miroslav Červeňák are charged. Last September, under the influence of alcohol, they targeted and beat the 39-year-old victim in a Šumperk park, kicking him in the head and face repeatedly. The victim later died in hospital. A metropolitan police officer who responded to the call compared the brutality to scenes from a butcher’s shop. One of the suspects, Mr Červeňák, has denied involvement, telling the court on Monday that he had tried to get the others to stop. If found guilty, the three men could face up to 18 years in prison.
The authors of anonymous Czech online articles thanking the Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik for his killing of 76 people may face prison sentences of up to one year, the daily Právo writes on Saturday. Czech Police’s organized crime and secret police unit are working to uncover the identities of the authors. Czech Police has also launched an investigation into the profile of the Norwegian gunman in an effort to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the Czech Republic. The head of the organized crimes unit, Robert Šlachta, said that due to legal restrictions, investigators would face difficulties in solving such cases, since they can only use wire-taps and undercover agents when a group of organized criminals is attempting to illegally purchase weapons. In addition, sentences for illegal gun acquisition in the Czehc Republic are relatively mild: An individaul convicted of buying guns illegally faces up to two years in prison. Mr. Breivik, who committed the twin terror attacks that shook Norway on July 22nd, may face up to 30 years in prison.
A mass will be held in the cathedral of St. Vitus on Friday evening to honour the victims of last week’s massacre in Oslo. The service is to be led by the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka, who expressed his deep condolences on behalf of the Czech Catholic Church this week in a letter to the Norwegian ambassador Jens Eikaas.
It has been five years since the bill on registered partnership between gay couples came into force in the Czech Republic. During the period, more than 1,200 gay and lesbian couples in the country formed civil unions. While most within the gay community welcomed the original legislation as an important milestone, many still feel it didn’t go far enough as it failed to recognise gay marriage or adoption rights. Radio Prague spoke to Zdeněk Sloboda, a representative of PROUD, a Czech initiative promoting human rights.
A leading Roma advocacy group has suspended co-operation with the interior ministry, accusing the police of going soft on far-right extremism. The group – Romea - says at several neo-Nazi demonstrations this year police allowed marchers to shout racist slogans without making any arrests. The Czech interior ministry denies the claims.
Anders Behring Breivik, who admitted carrying out Friday’s twin terror attacks in Norway that killed 93 people, visited the Czech capital last year in search of weapons. In a manifesto published on the day of the attacks, attributed to the Mr Breivik, the terror suspect wrote that his failure to do so in Prague led to him to acquire a rifle and a handgun legally in his homeland. In the document, the 32-year-old right-wing, anti-Islamist fundamentalist also quotes Czech President Václav Klaus’ criticism of the EU.
Some 150 right-wing extremists staged a march through the town of Svitavy on Saturday in support of imprisoned skinhead Vlastimil Pechanec who was convicted of the murder of a Svitavy Romany man in 2001. Some 130 riot police members, including officers on horseback, and a police helicopter monitored the march during which no incidents were registered a police spokeswoman told the ČTK news agency. Participants carried posters proclaiming Mr Pechanec’s innocence and met on the square. Far-right extremists have held demonstrations in Svitavy for several years.
Four people have been arrested on suspicion of having firebombed the home of a Roma family in Central Bohemia on Monday. Police say that the group had been walking around the village of Býchory in the early hours of Monday and calling out racist slogans, before one of them threw a lit torch into the occupied house. The residents were able to extinguish the fire without injury. The suspects, aged 20 to 25, were detained later in the day and are being investigated for attempted grievous bodily harm; should a racial motive be determined they will face up to 12 years’ imprisonment.
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