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Czechs who insulted Castros to be tried

Posted on Thursday, 11.05.09
Czechs who insulted Castros to be tried
Two tourists will be tried on a variety of charges stemming from a March
scuffle at Havana's .

Two Czech tourists in March after they shouted insulting
remarks about Fidel and Raúl Castro during a scuffle at Havana's
international airport will be tried next week, diplomatic sources
confirmed Wednesday.

Zdenek Tovara, 25, and Jaroslav Jirik, 32, were charged with public
disorder, damages and resisting arrest after a scuffle that involved
employees at the air terminal and required the intervention of
forces on March 22 of this year.

“The two Czech citizens have been under arrest since March and,
according to information from their lawyers, the trial will be held Nov.
11,'' reported from Havana a diplomatic source who requested anonymity.

The case came to light in late October, when a relative of Tovara's told
a version of the events to the Czech radio station Frekvence 1.

According to the relative's testimony broadcast by Czech radio, the
arrest was related to the homosexual behavior of both individuals before
their departure from Cuba, where they spent a two-week vacation.

However, the accounts from Havana point to other reasons.

Apparently, the men arrived at the airport inebriated and continued to
drink until an argument began between the two.

The information gathered by El Nuevo Herald from two eyewitnesses — a
Cuban employee and a Czech — coincides in that the men engaged
in an argument that mobilized the employees of several nearby shops who
tried to calm them down.

“But everything got worse, because one of the Czechs is a martial-arts
expert and he began to strike blows and destroy property. Then, all the
personnel from the shops fell on top of him and the police had to take
action,'' said the airport employee, who asked to remain nameless for
fear of reprisals.

The police intervention provoked the Czechs into shouting obscene words
against , Raúl Castro and Cuba's communist
leadership, wrote Svetlana Vitka, a Czech tourist who witnessed the
event, in a e-mail to El Nuevo Herald.

“The two men offered resistance, but ended up beaten up and
unconscious,'' Vitka wrote.

The filed the charges on June 23. If found guilty, the
defendants could receive up to five years' imprisonment.

It is not clear if the criminal charges will also include contempt,
because of the insults and obscene gestures directed at the Cuban leaders.

The diplomatic source added that both defendants stay in regular contact
with officials of the Czech Embassy in Havana but declined to offer more
details about the incident.

The Czech tabloid Aha! recently reported that Tovara asked for aid to
the successful Cuban couturier Osmany Laffita, who lives in Prague.
Laffita told the tabloid that he had taken up the issue with the Cuban
Embassy in Prague.

Czechs who insulted Castros to be tried – Cuba – (5
November 2009)

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