Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Court gives suspended sentence for threats to Roma singer

ČTK |
10 January 2018

Prostejov, South Moravia, Jan 9 (CTK) - A Czech court gave an 18-month suspended sentence with a 30-month probation to Ales Rozsival for his racially motivated threats addressed to Roma singer Radoslav Banga, known under the artistic name Gipsy, in connection with his stance on the extremist Ortel band on Tuesday.

Rozsival, 32, posted xenophobic and racially motivated comments full of dirty words and threats on Banga's profile in 2016.

He reacted to Banga's protest against a prize for the Ortel rock group, whose lyrics and performances are criticised for unacceptable racist and xenophobic connotations, in the Czech Nightingale pop music poll last year.

Judge Ivona Otrubova convicted Rozsival of the defamation of nation, race, ethnic and other groups, violence against a group or an individual, incitement to hatred of a group of people and restricting of their rights and freedoms and expressing sympathies for movements promoting the suppression of human rights and freedoms.

The judge also imposed a probation clerk's supervision on Rozsival, who originally faced up to three years in prison.

Rozsival did not appear in court. He originally confessed to the crime to the police and expressed regret. However, later he questioned his confession and the act alone.

Rozsival posted hateful comments and threats on Bangas' profile on December 5, 2016. He threatened the singer with death, "a gas shower" and uranium mines.

Banga told the court that the statements had harmed his honour and dignity and that he had feared for his life. The police were guarding him over the threats for several months, he said.

The court also approved a compensation of 20,000 crowns to him.

Banga accompanied the awarding of Ortel with booing and then he and his wife walked out of the concert hall in protest. He explained his reaction by Ortel's support for Nazism on his Facebook profile next day.

Ortel and its singer received the second prize and most of the audience applauded them. Banga asked the audience why they did so. "I will tell you that you applauded Nazis," he answered the question himself on Facebook.

His profile was flooded with hateful reactions then, while Rozsival's comments were among the worst, Banga said.

Rozsival has been the second person brought to court for offending Banga.

In August, a district court sentenced student David Smid to 100 hours of community work for having expressed sympathies for movements promoting the suppression of rights and freedoms. He reacted in a hateful way to Banga on his Facebook profile.

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