published: 24.01.2014, 17:55 | updated: 24.01.2014 18:32:43
Prague - The Czech Dawn of Direct Democracy movement seeks new court proceedings with Vlastimil Pechanec sent to prison for a racially motivated murder of a Romany man because the trial was manipulated, Dawn´s deputy head Jaroslav Novak told CTK today.
Novak said he and Dawn leader Tomio Okamura visited Pechanec in the prison in Pardubice, east Bohemia, today.
Senator Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD), future minister for legislation and human rights, said Okamura wants to appeal to the "extreme" part of Czech society by this step.
Opinion polls show that Okamura is currently the most popular politician in the country.
In late 2012, Okamura won a seat in the Senate and unsuccessfully ran for president. He succeeded in entering the lower house of parliament with his Dawn of Direct Democracy in the early general election last autumn.
Okamura included Romany issues in his campaign before the general election. He said previously that Romanies should have their own state and that the Czech Republic should support their emigration.
"Pechanec´s right to a just trial was grossly violated," Dawn´s spokesman Jan Zilvar said.
Zilvar said Okamura and Novak filed several complaints over suspected violation of law in Pechanec´s case.
The new complaint will be addressed to Helena Valkova (ANO) who will be appointed justice minister next week and it is to be worked out by lawyer Klara Samkova who will be Dawn´s leading candidate for the election to the European Parliament.
The skinhead Pechanec stabbed Ota Absolon at a disco and the 30-year-old Romany man, a father of two children, succumbed to the fatal injuries in hospital in 2001. Pechanec was sentenced to 17 years in prison as the courts qualified the murder as racially-motivated.
Pechanec pleads not guilty, claiming that his trial was framed up and the evidence fabricated. Czech far-right group organised repeated events in support of Pechanec.
Dienstbier recalled that the appeals court imposed even a stricter sentence on Pechanec than the original verdict.
He recalled that Pechanec committed various crimes before this murder, including a violent attack.
"The only explanation seems to be that Mr Okamura tries to appeal to the low instincts of a certain part of Czech society," Dienstbier told public Czech Television.
Dienstbier admitted that extreme attitudes have been entering Czech politics. "Mr Okamura is a perfect example of this because he has been trying to abuse these moods," he said.
He said a long-term well-thought strategy is needed to fight people like Okamura and remove the social preconditions.
Novak said Pechanec would like a complaint in his case to be filed only after his request for a conditional release is dealt with.
Convicts who served at least half of their sentence may ask for a conditional release. These requests are often met, provided that the inmate behaved well in prison and is not considered a dangerous person.
Novak said Pechanec did not commit a murder.
"Nobody considered it a murder, but a normal pub fight. There was some punching and stabbing in the fight, but not intentional," he said.
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