Thursday, 17 April 2014

Court acquits eight members of far-right group

18 October 2012

Prague, Oct 17 (CTK) - A Czech court yesterday acquitted eight people charged with promoting neo-Nazism by supporting the National Resistance (NO) movement and organising neo-Nazi meetings over the lack of evidence.

The verdict has not taken effect as the state attorney appealed it immediately.

The court panel chairwoman, Dana Sindelarova, sharply criticised the work of the police Squad for Uncovering Organised Crime that was investigating the case. The police should have gathered evidence of a better quality that could be used in court.

Squad spokesman Pavel Hantak told CTK that the police do not comment on verdicts that have not taken effect yet.

The court would have to issue an acquitting verdict even if the defence were completely passive since it did not have enough pieces of evidence to find the defendants guilty, Sindelarova said.

She, however admitted that this type of criminal activities is difficult to prove if the culprits are not caught red-handed.

The state attorney described four acts justifying the prosecution. She said former head of the Prague branch of the now abolished Workers' Party (DS), Patrik Vondrak, former DS member Michaela Rodova, the DS's EU election candidate Petr Fryc and ultra-right activist Filip Vavra and Richard Lang put up posters promoting the neo-Nazi NO grouping in the centre of Prague on December 4, 2008.

The Supreme Administrative Court banned the DS in 2010 as a xenophobic and undemocratic party.

The prosecution also says Vondrak, Rodova, Lang and another three men, including two former DS members, organised a rally and a march in Jihlava, south Moravia, on June 6, 2009.

The local authorities then stopped the event immediately after it started. The event was originally announced to the authorities as a march to honour World War Two victims, but its real purpose was to pay homage to victims among the Wehrmacht troops and to honour SS members, the state attorney said.

Moreover, Rodova assisted in creating and launching the server Resistance Women Unity (RWU), women's branch of the NO. Besides, Rodova is suspected of staging a "white power music" concert in Srby, central Bohemia, in February 2009.

Courts have dealt with the case for several years and this is why the attorney proposed suspended sentences for the defendants though they originally faced three to eight years in prison.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Rodova's remanding in custody was unrightful and her defence lawyer is therefore seeking a compensation for it.

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