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Jail Time for Czechs Agreeing With Russian Intervention

Wednesday 2 March 2022, by siawi3


Czech Republic, Legal, Media, Russia, Ukraine

Jail Time for Czechs Agreeing With Russian Intervention

March 1, 2022

The supreme state prosecutor’s office of the Czech Republic has warned Czech citizens that they can be imprisoned for agreeing with Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, reports Joe Lauria.

Photo: Czech Ministry of Justice, Prague. (Packa/Wikipedia)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium New

The Supreme State Prosecutor of the Czech Republic has warned its citizens that they can wind up in jail if they utter agreement with Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

“The Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office considers it necessary to inform citizens that the current situation associated with the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine may have implications for their freedom of expression,” began a statement from the office, dated Feb. 26.

“If someone publicly (including demonstrations, the Internet or social networks) agreed (accepted or supported the Russian Federation’s attacks on Ukraine) or expressed support or praised the leaders of the Russian Federation in this regard, they could also face criminal liability under certain conditions,” the statement says.

The laws the statement cites include prohibition against “approving of a criminal offense” and “denying, questioning, approving and justifying genocide.” The Czech Republic is a member of both the European Union and NATO.

Radio Prague International reported that police have begun to monitor online communications to look for offenders.

The chief public prosecutor, Igor Stríž, has warned that public support for the Russian aggression against Ukraine expressed at demonstrations or on social networks can currently be considered a criminal offense. He warned citizens to respect freedom of speech and not to exceed its limits. Under Czech law support for crimes against humanity or genocide are punishable by up to three years in jail. At the same time, St?íž added that the legal assessment of such acts is very complicated.

Police Presidium spokesman Ondrej Moravcík confirmed that the police will monitor potential excesses not only at public gatherings, but also in cyberspace.”

The Czech news site TN-CZ reported that:

  • Czech police are already investigating dozens of complaints from people who reported that someone had publicly approved and supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On Saturday, Attorney General Igor Stríž warned that he could face up to three years in prison for supporting Russian aggression, for example on demonstrations or social networks.

According to the Ukrainian embassy in Prague, two people have already been arrested under these statutes for supporting Russia. It tweeted, according to Google’s translation:

“Czech law enforcement warns that public approval of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be classified as a ‘crime of denial, questioning, approval and justification of GENOCIDE. There are already two first cases of detainees incriminated in this paragraph of the Criminal Code.”

The announcement, however, has drawn sharp criticism on social media.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and he began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.