published: 24.10.2013, 16:36 | updated: 24.10.2013 16:46:04
Prague - The Prague High Court today imposed high prison sentences on three Romany men for an attempted murder over their machete attack in a bar in Novy Bor, north Bohemia, in August 2011.
The violent incident led to an increase in social tension in the remote area of the Czech Republic two years ago.
Vojtech Husak was sent to prison for 17.5 years and Jakub Ziga and Antonin Sinu for 15 years each. The verdict has taken effect.
The appeals court imposed stricter punishment on Sinu who had been convicted of grievous bodily harm only by the lower level court and was to serve three years behind bars.
Ziga´s sentence was upheld and the group leader Husak´s sentence was extended by six months.
The perpetrators injured three men in a bar. The life of one of the victims was threatened and doctors had to replace a part of his brain with a platinum tablet.
The attack was a revenge for a conflict between a waitress and two Romany youths who wanted to play slot machines.
When the waitress asked for their IDs to see if they were not underage, the boys started calling her names. Other guests backed the waitress and forced the boys out of the bar and one of them allegedly hit one of the boys.
The boys returned to the bar soon afterwards with their friends to take revenge. The group armed with machetes stormed into the bar and started attacking the guests without a warning.
The court concluded that the attack was not planned and that the Romanies overreacted.
The attack provoked a series of anti-Romany demonstrations in northern Bohemia and increased tension between the white majority and the Romany minority.
The appeals court today dealt also with the appeals of the two juveniles whom the lower level court sent to 3.5 and five years in prison over bodily harm. The court upheld the verdict of one of them, while it ordered a new proceeding in the other one´s case.
The court proceeding was held behind closed doors because the two boys were underage. Only the reading out of the verdict was open to public.
Novy Bor Mayor Jaromir Dvorak said he is happy the case has finally ended.
"It was too long. I´m glad that it ended, it was a shame for Novy Bor," he told CTK in reaction to the verdict.
Dvorak said the situation in Novy Bor, a town with 12,000 inhabitants, gradually calmed down.
The municipal police hired two more officers and a Romany patrol and assistants started working in the town.
"It has been working well, the crime rate last year was the lowest of the past ten years. This year it went up due to the presidential amnesty," Dvorak said.
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