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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Neo-Nazi leaders Vondrák and Dupová released on CZK 400 000 bail each (Czech Rep)

The Prague 1 District Court has decided to release Patrik Vondrák, the former chair of the Prague branch of the banned Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS) and former DS member Michaela Dupová from custody. Presiding judge Libor Vávra told the Czech Press Agency yesterday that both have been released on CZK 400 000 bail each after promising in writing to refrain from criminal activity. Both will also be under the observation of a probation officer. Vondrák, Dupová, and six others face charges of supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms.

Judge Vávra said the court had decided on 16 December to release the 25-year-old Vondrák. The decision to release Dupová, who is 21, was made on 27 December. Both had been behind bars for more than a year since police raided their homes at the end of last October. According to police, Vondrák is one of the leading and most active representatives of the neo-Nazi National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO). The prosecutor is charging the eight defendants with participating to various degrees in four separate criminal acts. They have all denied the charges.

Defendants Vondrák, Dupová, Richard Lang, Milan Hroch (former chair of the DS regional organization in Vysočina), Martin Václavek (a former DS member) and Daniel Zavadil are charged with organizing and convening a gathering and march on 6 June 2009 in Jihlava which town officials dispersed immediately after it began. The event had been announced as a commemorative march in honor of the victims of the Second World War, but its true purpose was to honor the memory of Wehrmacht soldiers who fell during the war as well as the memory of SS members. The prosecution charges Hroch and Lang with planning the event. Zavadil notified the town hall of it and Václavek was his deputy convener.

The lawsuit alleges that Lang also arranged for memorial wreaths for the event and was present for it as an organizer. Dupová, according to the file, agreed with Lang to provide drums and to produce a memorial wreath. The lawsuit also says the gathering was addressed by Herbert Schweiger, a veteran of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler SS division, and by Austrian nationalist Gottfried Küssel. According to the case file, Vondrák invited them both to the Czech Republic and provided them with transportation.

Dupová faces charges for two other criminal acts. According to the case file, she contributed to creating and running the website of Resistance Women Unity (RWU), which police say is the women's branch of NO. The lawsuit claims she was the website administrator and published articles by herself and others on the site. According to the state prosecutor, those texts promoted and disseminated Nazi and neo-Nazi ideology.

In addition, according to the file, Dupová is said to have contributed to organizing and holding a concert of white power music in support of neo-Nazis who had been apprehended and later sentenced. The concert took place in February 2009 in Srby (Kladno district) and was attended by about 120 people. According to the lawsuit, Dupová knew the performers and others present would be disseminating Nazi and neo-Nazi ideology during the concert and celebrating the NO. Another crime concerns allegations that Vondrák, Dupová, Lang, Petr Fryč (a DS candidate during the European Parliamentary elections) and Filip Vávra posted promotional stickers for the NO in the center of Prague on 4 December 2008.

Experts on right-wing extremism say Lang is connected to the NO, while police say Hroch has also been actively engaged in the organization. Experts also say Vávra was connected with the NO; he has most recently attracted attention for inviting former Ku-Klux-Klan leader David Duke to the Czech Republic. Vávra admitted to the court that he was a right-wing radical at the end of the 1990s, but claims to have gradually become more moderate.