Justice minister calls on Okamura to stop “polemicizing” about Lety
Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán has expressed strong concern over Freedom and Direct Democracy head Tomio Okamura’s questioning of conditions at a WW II-era concentration camp for Roma in Lety, South Bohemia. Although Mr Okamura apologized for an earlier false statement about Lety, he continues to question the accepted truth about the camp.
The Czech-Romany association Konexe, meanwhile, lodged a criminal complaint, equating his words with Holocaust denial.
The Museum of Romany Culture, which is to take over administration of the site of the former camp in April and wants to build a proper memorial, says verified information about the camp is easily available and that Mr Okamura’s characterization was misleading.
Okamura is not the only one now facing legal action. Fellow party member and MP Miloslav Rozner faces a similar complaint. Public broadcaster Czech TV’s 168 Hours program broadcast an alleged recording of him at a private meeting in December in which he said he would not have “thrown half a billion crowns out the window” to buy out what he said was a ”nonexistent pseudo-concentration camp”.
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Pelikán, a member of the former coalition government which negotiated the buyout of the pig farm, and member of the outgoing government headed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, sent an open letter to Okamura, saying that not only was his information wrong, it was also off the mark. He wrote that regardless over whether there was or wasn’t a fence (there was) or whether it had or hadn’t been difficult to escape from Lety, there was no doubt hundreds suffered under cruel and appalling conditions and died there during WW II.
The minister also called Lety a “last stop” before the Nazi factories of death and asked Mr Okamura not to rate which “tragedy was the more tragic”.
The Christian Democrats have demanded Mr Okamura be sacked from his post as deputy speaker of the lower house.