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
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
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.