40 years ago, Antonín Dobner was put in prison by the communist regime of Czechoslovakia for his vocal opposition to the state.
Tuesday, the Pilsen Regional court handed him a three-month prison sentence and 18 months of probation for supporting the killing of three Czech soldiers in Afghanistan when they lost their lives in a 2018 suicide bombing.
Martin Marcin, Kamil Beneš, Patrik Štěpánek were killed while on NATO’s “Resolute Support” mission meant to train the Afghan military to defend against Taliban and other terrorist groups.
In an internet discussion, 71-year old Drobner gave a different take on the event that Czech authorities interpreted as insulting to the soldiers and “an approval of murder.”
In court, Drobner defended his stance, saying:
“I have a feeling the Bolshevik era is coming back. It’s my constitutional right to express my personal opinion over the internet. In my statements, I never gave any support for murder. A war crime is a war crime… The soldiers went to Afghanistan voluntarily and got paid well for it.”
Drobner claims the suicide bomber wasn’t a member of ISIS or some other extremist group, but an indigenous villager who martyred himself in opposition to NATO’s immoral invasions.
“I would call him an Afghan national hero because to blow himself up and die for the benefit of his home state is a heroic act. Similarly, Jan Palach is considered a hero in our country, and he also sacrificed himself for the benefit of his home state.”
Originally, Drobner was facing a maximum of 15 years in prison, but the courts opted for the lower sentence because they couldn’t ascertain the exact motivation of the suicide bomber, meaning Drobner’s comments couldn’t be deemed with certainty as support for terrorism.