Suspected arsonist caught on tape praising ‘dudes’ who shot Hungarian Roma|
New evidence emerged on Monday at the trial of four neo-Nazis accused of
racially-motivated murder after throwing petrol bombs through the windows
of the home of a Roma family last year. A two-year-old girl was
horrifically burned in the attack, which has received unprecedented
attention here in the Czech Republic.
A scratchy police surveillance recording of suspected arsonist Jaromír
Lukeš, recorded several weeks after the attack on the Roma family in
Vítkov, North Moravia, last year. In the recording - played to Ostrava
Regional Court on Monday – the two discuss how well the attack had gone
and how the police would never track the group down.
A voice – allegedly belonging to Lukeš – then expresses envy at a
similar attack in Hungary, where a 27-year-old Roma man and his
six-year-old son were shot dead as they fled their burning home: “In
Hungary they chucked their petrol bombs in, waited for them to run out, and
then shot them. Total dudes they are.”
Experts are hesitant to draw any direct link between the attacks in the
Czech Republic and Hungary, although from the police wiretaps it appears
Czech neo-Nazis could at least have been partly inspired by the spate of
race killings in Hungary in recent years.
Robert Kushen is the Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Centre
in Budapest. On the phone from New York, he told me advocacy groups were
still waiting for courts in Central Europe to send a clear signal that
racially motivated murder cannot be tolerated.
“The trial in the Czech Republic is encouraging, but we have to see what
the final verdict is. We’re hoping there will be a severe penalty
assessed to serve as a deterrent. In Hungary for a long time there was no
effective action taken against some very serious violent incidents
resulting since 2008 in nine deaths. We understand there will hopefully be
an indictment handed down some time in the fall, but thus far we haven’t
After hearing the recordings Jaromír Lukeš told the judge he had
deliberately lied about the attack because he suspected his friend of being
a police informer and wanted to catch him out. That argument may not stand
up in court, but his lawyer says the wiretaps were illegal and is lobbying
for them to be rejected as evidence.