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Block Against Islam leader charged with hate speech

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Prague, Nov 24 (CTK) – Martin Konvicka, leader of the Czech far-right group Bloc Against Islam, has been accused of encouraging hatred of Muslims over the statements he made on his Facebook profile, his lawyer Klara Samkova told journalists yesterday.
The Bloc Against Islam said the complaint was politically motivated. It is a direct attack against freedom of speech, its spokesman David Stepan said.
Samkova said the criminal complaint was filed by an activistic state attorney from northern Bohemia on November 18. The complaint concerned statements from 2011-2014, she said.
Konvicka wrote on Facebook that Muslims should be detained in concentration camps or that meat and bone meal should be made of them.
Konvicka faces up to three years in prison for incitement to hatred against a group of people or suppression of its rights and freedoms.
Samkova said the accusation was expedient as it concerned statements that were more than one year old. She recommended to Konvicka that he not comment on it, she said.
Lawmaker Olga Havlova (opposition Dawn-National Coalition), who is active in the Bloc, said Konvicka´s accusation was similar to the political trials of the 1950s.
Havlova said Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) was behind the accusation.
Pelikan dismissed the allegation. He said he had no influence on the police.
Havlova said Pelikan called for the launching of criminal action only a few hours before the prosecution of Konvicka started.
Konvicka was one of the speakers at a Prague rally of supporters of President Milos Zeman on the national holiday of November 17. Shortly after the rally, Pelikan released on Twitter the article of the Penal Code according to which Konvicka was accused.
Konvicka, 46, is a senior entomology lecturer at South Bohemian University.
He became known to the broad public earlier this year as the leader of the initiative We Don´t Want Islam in the Czech Republic, which launched a petition campaign against refugee quotas. The initiative organised several events against Islam and Interior Ministry reports mentioned it among extremist groups.
If Islam had been suppressed, there would have been no problems with migrants, Konvicka said previously.
The Bloc Against Islam was established in June. Konvicka says Islam is not a religion but a military ideology. In September, the Bloc agreed on cooperation with the small opposition Dawn-National Coalition.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) labelled the Bloc Against Islam “a xenophobic sect.”

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