Trial of four accused of racially-motivated attempted murder begins
The trial of four defendants accused of racially-motivated attempted murder in an attack on a Romany family last year began under tight security on Tuesday in the city of Ostrava. Last year on the night of April 19th they are suspected of having firebombed the family’s residence, using Molotov cocktails. Three people were injured, including a toddler who suffered severe burns and barely survived. If found guilty, the four accused could face up to 15 years in prison or even receive exemplary life sentences.
Last April the news of a vicious firebomb attack on a Romany family in eastern Moravia, shocked the country and led to an intense and unparalleled investigation to find the perpetrators. Four months later, four individuals - David Vaculík, Jaromír Lukeš, Ivo Müller and Václav Cojocaru, all in their 20s, all with ties to right-wing extremism, were charged. Now, a little over a year later, under the tightest security and armed guard, their trial has begun.
The prosecution of course is aiming to prove that the attackers must have known the residence was inhabited and above all to prove that the attack was a racially-motivated murder attempt. Müller, Cojocaru, Vaculík are said to have been the ones who threw the actual petrol bombs into the home, while Lukeš waited in the car because he allegedly knew the most suitable routes for escape. The lawyer for the little girl, severely injured in the attack, is also seeking 9 million crowns – or the equivalent of around 550,000 US dollars – in damages, while the family as a whole is seeking an additional 900,000 crowns in compensation.
According to Czech TV on Monday, a verdict in the case – the most infamous in the country in recent memory – is expected as early as sometime next month.