In Czech Republic, two men guilty of hate speech after social media videos against Ukrainians

A Court in the Czech Republic found two men guilty of hate speech against Ukrainians and incited hatred in videos they posted on social media.

Czech police
Illustration | © Czech Republic police, Facebook

The District Court of Kladno, northwest of Prague, on October 26 found two men guilty of hate speech against Ukrainians and incited hatred, sentencing them to six and ten months in prison.

The verdict, which can be appealed, was given the same day defendants were brought to Court. Mr. Čermák has been sentenced to six months in prison, Mr. Tušl to ten months. They were arrested in August and remained in custody until the trial. Both could face up to 3 years in prison.

The judge considered both defamed the nation of Ukraine and incited hatred, and justified that freedom of speech has some limits. State representative Ondřej Hula told Czech news media that he considered their acts as socially highly dangerous. Mr. Tušl said he had nothing against Ukrainians in general but denounced the actions of some Ukrainian nationalists. He said he felt innocent but apologized for the profanities used in the video.

Mr. Cermák said that “every person makes a mistake at some point.” He claimed he didn’t believe in what he was saying and that he was looking for viewership. He also admitted their videos were inappropriate and apologized for that.

In the indictment, the public prosecutor explained that the two men broadcast live videos on Facebook in August from Netovice, a small rural town in the district of Kladno, in which they defamed Ukrainians. They described them using degrading terms, calling them “shit” or “dirty” for instance.

They called for a counter-demonstration to a gathering of Ukrainians, stating that the Czech Republic should “let them go back to Kyiv” or that Ukrainians are basically occupying Czech territory. Mr. Cermák said that “Ukrainians are starting to multiply here” and that “we have to act now or we’re going to go to hell.” They also criticized that Ukrainians have expensive mobile phones for instance.

Mr. Cermák said he received dozens of donations of hundreds of crowns with the videos. Mr. Tušl said he received 10,000 to 20,000 crowns ($411 to $821) in total.

Mr. Tušl has two suspended sentences from the past, for death threats against the mother of his child and theft.

Mr. Tušl is also prosecuted for threats against the president of the Czech Medical Chamber because of the COVID-19 vaccine mandates and measures to fight the pandemic. Mr. Čermák is also accused of promoting terrorism by calling on for the assault against a member of parliament.

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