Bloc Against Islam leader charged with hate speech
The head of the Bloc Against Islam Martin Konvička has been charged with inciting hatred toward a group of people based on their religious beliefs. Most recently, the anti-Islam activist attended a rally in support of President Milos Zeman appearing onstage alongside the president on Nov 17th. The charge, according to reports, is however not related to his speech last week, but to incendiary statements several years ago.
“Yes, you can’t see that the words were taken out of context from an online thread… ‘When we defeat you Sparta, we will grind you into sausage’ is a fairly common chant by football fans… Over around five years I have written hundreds of thousands of statements... But if you dug deep enough, about things said by anz of us, you’d find something.”
The spokesman for Bloc Against Islam, meanwhile, argued that what is a stake is freedom of speech. Others pointed to a tweet by the country’s justice minister Robert Pelikán on November 17, as evidence the case against Konvička is politically-motivated. In a tweet after the Bloc’s rally on November 17, the justice minister questioned why the police were not taking action against hate speech and cited a specific section of the Penal Code. Martin Konvička’s lawyer, Klára Samková said this:
If the case proceeds and Mr Konvička is found guilty of inciting hatred against a group of people or the suppression of its rights and freedoms, he faces up to three years in jail. Meanwhile, Prague Castle has since distanced itself from the bloc leader. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told broadcaster Czech TV the president in no way shared the opinions expressed and said no such words had been used at the event attended by the head of state on November 17.