Three youths go to prison for racist attack against Romany couple

JESENIK- The Jesenik court sentenced three youths to prison for a brutal attack on a Romany couple in Jesenik.

The court sent Martin Stiskal to three years in prison, Martin Jasa to 4.5 years and Petr Blajze to 3.5 years. According to the indictment, they broke into the Romanies' flat in June 2003, using the pretext that they are police. They hit a pregnant woman into her eye with a cobblestone and they cut the man.

The youths immediately appealed.

"The defendants deliberately caused them severe bodily harm due to their ethnic group. They committed the criminal activity in a brutal and hideous way. Early in the morning, they assaulted the helpless residents," judge Dusan Jedlicka said.

The Jesenik court already punished the youths in January 2004, but only with suspended sentences. The verdict caused a number of public protests.

The regional court returned the case to Jesenik for more expert reviews. Expert Ilja Sin told the court that the woman had permanent bodily harm and her eye-sight was seriously impaired.

The judge issued the same verdict as proposed by the state attorney.

"I am satisfied. It has been proved clearly that the acts of all accused were racially motivated...No other motive has been proved," said state attorney Katerina Krcova who took time to consider a possible appeal.

The damaged Romanies and their authorised representatives said they are only partially contented with the verdict.

"They [the culprits] appealed once more, it will be dragging on again. I do not know if there will ever be peace in Jesenik," said Jan Ziga whom the young men caused lacerations.

Zdenka Polakova, authorised representative of the victims, said she does not agree with the sentence level for Stiskala.

"The prison sentences are all right. The question is whether the most aggressive attacker should have received the lowest sentence," she said.

Karel Holomek, deputy head of the Government Council for Romany Issues and chairman of the Association of Romanies in Moravia, also attended the trial to hear the verdict today.

Holomek pointed out that the court's statement that the accused had lived a decent life before the crime was simply ridiculous since the men are well-know neo-Nazis in the town.

"The sentence should be one year longer," he told reporters.

The accused men, aged 20 to 23, refused to comment on the verdict. Stiskala only said he expected the sentence, but he does not agree with it.

The Regional Court will deal with the case as the accused appealed the verdict.
According to the charges, Blajze, Jas and Stiskala, drunk at the time of the crime, tried to get into a Romany couple's flat in June 2003. The Zigas opened the door because the young men claimed they are policemen. The Romany woman, who was then pregnant, was hit in the eye with a cobblestone and the man ended up with cuts in his face and chest.

The culprits admitted that they attacked the Romanies. They, however, defended themselves, saying they only wanted to scare them. They denied having injured the Romanies.

According to an eye doctor, the Romany woman suffers from permanent troubles after the attack and she is practically blind on the left eye.

The young attackers got into a brawl with Romanies earlier already. Blajze and Jas were behind bars for other racially motivated attacks. Stiskala was prosecuted, too, but he was acquitted of charges then.

Autor: CTK. (CTK)

And what is the bet that the appeal's court judge will overturn the sentences? It would not surprise me. They might get away with something like suspended sentences, if anything at all. Maybe they will claim that it was the Romani couple's fault and be set free. Nothing would surprise me.