published: 26.09.2012, 15:20 | updated: 26.09.2012 15:25:03
Prague - The Regional Court in Prague sentenced a young man to four years in prison for an arson attack on Romanies in Bychory, central Bohemia, last year.
The other three accused were given suspended sentences.
The man who was sent to prison threw a burning torch into a house inhabited by Romanies, according to the charges.
He faced up to 12 years in prison for an attempt at causing a grievous bodily harm if found guilty, and his accomplices faced up to three years for violence against a group of inhabitants and an individual.
Today´s verdict can be appealed.
According to the indictment, the four young men aged 22-26 years agreed on July 11, 2011 to "scare the Gypsies" because the house inhabitants "have harmed the village with their ethnic origin and they should leave."
One of them then allegedly threw the torch in the window without agreement with the others. Fortunately, the fire was soon extinguished, causing no injuries.
The man suspected of having thrown the torch into the house apologised for his act, the others expressed regret in court.
They denied having committed a racist attack and being extremists. They defended themselves saying they were drunk.
There were five adults and four children in the house during the attack. The Romanies moved from the house a day later.
The most closely watched racially motivated attack on Romanies in the Czech Republic occurred in Vitkov, north Moravia, in April 2009 when four young extremists attacked a house of a Romany family with Molotov cocktails. A girl, then aged two, nearly died, suffering terrible burns, and two adults were injured. The four arsonists were given long prison sentences.
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