4 Czechs get long prison for attack on Roma family
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 00:22
Prague: A Czech court convicted four right-wing extremists of an arson attack on a Roma family that badly injured a 2-year-old girl, and sentenced them on Wednesday to stiff prison terms.

The four were charged with racially motivated attempted murder for a Molotov cocktail attack in April last year on the home of a family of Roma, or gypsies. The attack was allegedly timed to coincide with the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday.

David Vaculik, Jaromir Lukes, Ivo Mueller and Vaclav Cojocaru pleaded not guilty. They said they didn't know the house in the northeastern town of Vitkov was inhabited.

The trial proved that their intention was to kill the Roma who lived in the house "because of their race," Judge Misoslav Studnicka ruled.

The regional court in the city of Ostrava, 360 km east of Prague, sentenced Vaculik, Lukes and Mueller to 22 years in prison each, and Cojocaru to 20 years. Beside life imprisonment, a maximum prison term in the Czech Republic is 25 years.

All four immediately appealed the verdict.

The 2-year-old girl, Natalie, suffered severe burns to 80 per cent of her body and was in serious condition for months. Her parents were also hospitalised.

Natalie was battling for her life for months and doctors operated on her 14 times. She still has to be hospitalized on a short term basis and undergoes rehabilitation but it is not clear if she will ever fully recover.


First Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 00:22

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