Thursday, 24 April 2014

Czech lawyer punished over anti-Semitism

ČTK |
11 October 2012

Prague, Oct 10 (CTK) - The Czech Bar Association (CAK) Wednesday gave a one-year professional ban to lawyer Petr Koci as he raised a bias objection to a court expert because he is of Jewish origin, CAK spokeswoman Iva Chaloupkova has told journalists.

The decision has not taken effect and Koci can appeal it.

"According to the CAK disciplinary panel, Koci claimed that the expert was biased on the grounds of his ethnic origin, which is quite unacceptable," Chaloupkova said.

The CAK did not accept Koci's argument that he had to respect his client's instruction.

"A lawyer must obey legal regulations in the first place and only within them a client's instructions," Chaloupkova said.

Koci was representing Lucie Slegrova, a member of the far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS), at her trial in Most, north Bohemia.

Koci said the court expert Michal Mazel could not assess his client objectively because he was a Jew.

Slegrova was prosecuted over her public statements she made at a rally of the DSSS in 2010. Mazel concluded that she promoted Nazism and anti-Semitism in her speech.

Koci and Slegrova inferred Mazel's origin from his surname that they claimed derives from the Hebrew Moshe.

"As a person of Jewish origin, the expert certainly perceives very sensitively the question of the Shoah (Holocaust) and the German National Socialism. Like many of his peers, he tends to react with increased sensitivity, that may reach an inappropriate touchiness, to any signs in this respect," Koci wrote in his complaint.

Koci's objection caused a public outcry. Chairman of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychetsky sharply dismissed it in the media.

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