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Artists’ group violated values of society, court rules

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Prague, June 5 (CTK) – The conduct of the activists from the Ztohoven artistic group who replaced the presidential flag flying over the Prague Castle with giant red boxer shorts in late 2015 in protest against President Milos Zeman targeted the values of society, judge Sarka Santorova said today.

The judge explained in this way the April suspended sentences imposed on three members of the Zhotoven.

Apart from the sentences of six months in prison suspended for 12 months, Filip Crhak, Matej Hajek and David Hons must pay 55,000 crowns for a damaged roof and 8,400 crowns for the presidential flag.

The three men confirmed that they climbed the roof of the presidential seat, disguised as chimney sweepers and hung out giant red boxer shorts on September 19, 2015. The group later said it cut the presidential flag into pieces and distributed the pieces among people. The group argued with the freedom of speech.

Ztohoven released a video on Facebook saying “the proper flag of a man who is not ashamed of anything finally flies above Prague Castle.” They particularly criticised Zeman for siding with dictatorial regimes, such as China and Russia, and his vulgar language.

Last August, Santorova acquitted them, arguing that this was just a practical joke that did not show any signs of a negative attitude to society.

However, after a complaint of the state attorney’s office and the intervention of a superior court, she revised the decision.

“The defendants’ conduct was targeted against the values of society, for which they chose the means heading towards a sensible intervention in the values,” Santorova said.

“They also targeted the general public because they committed the act in the place of a large concentration of people and they documented their behaviour by a video footage they posted on an accessible server so that the public could see it,” she added.

She also argued that Hajek and Hons had confessed to the theft when saying that they removed the flag from the roof and threw it down from it.

The state attorney still insists on the activists paying the full price of the flag, 33,000 crowns, and fines for the defendants.

The Prague Municipal Court is yet to deal again with the case.

($1=23.501 crowns)

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