Czech president stands by his 'Islamophobic' remarks

Czech President Milos Zeman rejects UN’s criticism over his 'Islamophobic public discourse,' 'systematic human rights violations'

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A refugee child looks out of a window in the Facility For Detention of Foreigners in Bela-Jezova, Czech Republic on October 13 2015

Czech President Milos Zeman has defended his stance over migration and Islam on Thursday, after he was criticized by UN for his “Islamophobic statements and xenophobic discourse.”

Zeman’s spokesman said on Thursday that the president stands by his opinion and he will not not change it under pressure from abroad.

He said that "the president has long warned of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.”

UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has criticised the president’s words, country’s treatment of refugees and a public petition “against immigration,” launched by former President Václav Klaus on early Thursday.

Zeman’s stance against refugees came under spotlight following the Human Rights Body Council of Europe released a report criticising his anti-Islamic rhetoric.

During an official visit to Southern Moravia on Friday, defending his remarks, Zeman has said that if Czech Republic accepts refugees, they will not respect the country’s laws.

In case of accepting refugees, “unfaithful women will be stoned, thieves' hands will be cut off and we will be deprived of the beauty of women because they will have to have their faces covered.” he said.

“I can imagine that in some cases this might be beneficial, though,” he added.

Czech officials treatment towards refugees generated public outrage after two young Syrian refugees crossing the Czech border from Slovakia were arrested, handcuffed, strip-searched and detained for six weeks.

One of the detained refugees said that their money and phones were taken away by police officers.

"They told us that we entered the country without a visa and that it would take only a couple of hours. In the end it was 40 days," he said.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said over the detentions that the real problem was about Greece and Hungary. Because they were not accepting the refugees back.

“So they stay for 40 days.” Chovanec said.

On the other hand, aid workers say some of the refugees were held longer by Czech authorities despite the law, the detention length of up to 90 days.  At least 533 people were held in the country’s three-long-term detention centres.

Some officials also stood against the detention length and the inhumane treatment of refugees.

"The only thing they committed is a misdemeanor, like when you park your car wrong. You don't expect to be locked up for 90 days," Justice Minister Robert Pelikan told Czech Television.

TRTWorld and agencies