Czech Skinheads Get Prison Sentence

Associated Press/January 10, 2003

Prague, Czech Republic -- Four men described as right-wing extremists were convicted and sentenced to at least four years in prison Friday for a racially motivated attack against Gypsies, officials said.

The three victims were beaten and stabbed two years ago at a streetcar stop in Ostrava, 220 miles east of Prague. The Gypsies, also known as Roma, have since recovered from their wounds.

Ostrava regional court officials confirmed the verdict but would not elaborate on details of the ruling.

The state-run CTK news agency reported that a 20-year-old defendant was sentenced to four years and six months, a 19 year old received four years and three months, while the remaining two _ ages 19 and 21--received four years each. All were convicted of causing bodily harm and promoting Nazism.

Last year, a court in Hradec Kralove, 60 miles east of Prague sentenced a skinhead to 13 years in prison for committing a racially motivated murder.

Also last year, a Prague court sentenced a skinhead to seven years in prison for a racially motivated attack on three people during celebrations of this country's 1999 ice hockey world championship.

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