Czech Republic / Regional Court
Crime type(s) concerned/related
Related hate bias motivation
Key facts of the case
The case concerns both online and offline incitement to hatred and violence against an ethnic and religious group (Jews and Muslims). The defendant for a long period of time publicly published, spoke, and wrote speeches and comments that delibrately expressed and promoted a negative view of immigrants, predominantly those of Muslim faith, coming from areas mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, precisely because of their Muslim faith, but also because of their diversity as an ethnic group.
The defendant was invoking the right to a fair trial as well as freedom of expression. The Court emphasised that manifestations of freedom of expression have to be interpreted in their context and that hate speech does not enjoy protection under freedom of expression.
Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?
Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case
The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the interference with his freedom of expression occurred in accordance with the conditions set out in Article 10 (2) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Court emphasised that the European Court of Human Rights had repeatedly ruled that expressions that evoke or justify violence, hatred, or intolerance (eg anti-Semitic expressions or Holocaust denial) do not enjoy protection under freedom of expression.
Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case
The District Court for Prague 1 found the defendant guilty of several crimes including the defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other group of persons, incitement of hatred against a group of persons, or the denial, questioning, approval and justifying of genocide. The defendant was sentenced to a total sentence of two years' imprisonment, which was conditionally suspended for a probationary period of three years, while providing for the supervision of a probation and mediation officer. The appelate court confirmed the judgment for the most part and only annulled the sentence by which the defendant was sentenced to relinquish his copyright.
Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details
"41. (Obžalovaný) je po právu trestně postihován za to, že a jak svou extrémní animozitu zejména k židům a muslimům projevoval, totiž ve vyhroceně nenávistné a vulgární dikci, daleko za hranicí toho, co je v civilizované společnosti přípustné, při tom zároveň takto působil mnohočetnými kanály zvláště aktivně a ofenzivně."
"41. (The defendant) is rightly punished for the fact that and how he manifested his extreme animosity, especially towards Jews and Muslims, namely in intensely hateful and vulgar diction, far beyond what is permissible in civilized society, he also acted particularly actively through multiple channels and in an offensive manner."