Thursday, 24 April 2014

Presidential amnesty applies to suspended sentences for far rightists

11 February 2013

Brno, Feb 8 (CTK) - The Brno City Court has remitted suspended sentences imposed on six ultra-right radicals for their statements at a May Day rally in Brno in 2009 since the presidential amnesty applies to them, Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) deputy head Jiri Stepanek told CTK Friday.

The amnestied include Tomas Vandas, chairman of the DSSS, successor to the outlawed Workers' Party (DS), who was given a four-month suspended sentence with a 20-month probation over his words on the "immigrants' disastrous tsunami."

Along with Vandas, the amnesty also applies to Stepanek, Michal Glas, Michaela Rodova, Petr Kotab and Martin Zbela who uttered their extremist statements as members of the DS that was later dissolved.

The Brno City Court gave them suspended sentences from four to eight months with a 20-month up to two-year probation in 2011.

The City Court originally also imposed fines on the rightist extremists but the Brno Regional Court lifted them later.

All accused challenged the verdict calling it unlawful and unjust. They said the court had ruled on the basis of an untrustworthy and illogical expert opinion.

They tried to play down their original statements, calling them jokes and allegories during the trial.

However, the Supreme Court rejected their appellate review.

According to the court, Vandas and his fellow defendants had encroached upon the rights of ethnic minorities living in the Czech Republic, mainly Romanies and Vietnamese.

The Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) dissolved the DS in February 2010, complying with the proposal of the government saying the DS is extremist and poses a threat to democracy. Afterwards, its leadership along with Vandas established the far-right DSSS.

President Vaclav Klaus's New Year amnesty applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences and elderly convicts. It also halts criminal proceedings if they have lasted for more than eight years, and if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years.

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