A group of Czech mothers known as the “breastfeeding guerrillas” – Kojící guerila – held a “feed-in” shortly before lunchtime on Monday at local branches of Austria’s Raiffeisen bank. The protest was called over a specific incident at a Prague branch, but is part of a long-running campaign to change public attitudes.
The Prague Municipal Court has sentenced three Algerian men for the gang
rape of an Irish tourist and other crimes and banned them from entering the
country for varying periods. The judgment is final, subject only to an
appeal to the Czech Supreme Court.
The victim met one of her attackers, Tajíb Banjittú, early last April and agreed to go back to his room in a tourist hostel in Prague 1. Once there, he and five other men raped her, she told police.
Six suspects, all men in their twenties, were arrested in a police raid at the hostel and later appeared in court, where they pleading innocent. Three were acquitted.
Tajíb Banjittú was sentenced to 6 years in prison and expelled from the Czech Republic indefinitely. Muhammad Habib Uld Ajsu, who was convicted of possessing narcotics and psychotropic substances, got 4.5 years and was expelled for 10 years. Zakariah Uld Ajsa was sentenced to 3 years in prison and expelled for 10 years.
The sexual scandal surrounding the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has resonated all around the world, including the Czech Republic. Hundreds of women suffered sexual harassment in the past, including the Czech European Commissioner Věra Jourová, have joined the global initiative #MeToo campaign on social media to highlight the magnitude of the problem.
Countries form around the world signed up in 2015 to a United Nations plan for sustainable global develop. It was greeted as an unprecedented move towards creating a fairer and more sustainable world. The Czech government was due to give an update on its progress in attaining some of the goals at the UN this week. At the same, the Czech branch of the NGO Social Watch prepared to present its findings about progress or the lack of it locally.
A march to commemorate the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers took place on Saturday in Prague. Around two dozen women took part, walking from Karlovo náměstí, through Wenceclas Square, and on to Vrchlického sady near Prague’s main train station. They held symbolic red umbrellas, calling for greater action to be taken to ensure the safety of sex workers. Hana Malinová runs the NGO Rozkoš bez rizika, or Bliss without Risk, which has for two decades provided medical and consultancy services to women involved in prostitution. I began
Minister for human rights Jiří Dienstbier on Friday unveiled a campaign in support of gender equality which should be launched by the end of the year. The campaign will focus on domestic violence as well ways of better combining work and family life. The minister pointed out that women are on average paid 22 percent less than men in the Czech Republic. He added that cases of rape were often grossly underestimated with the total running to around 10,000 a year in the country.
Since new legislation was introduced in 2007, the police banned perpetrators of domestic violence from their homes in 10,614 cases. The legislation allows officers of the law to confiscate owners' home keys for 10 days to give victims a chance to escape the cycle of violence. Statistics released by Bílý kruh bezpečí, a civic organization helping victims of domestic abuse in the Czech Republic, suggest that around 10 percent of reported domestic violence cases take place in the Czech capital. The year the new regulations were introduced, the police barred perpetrators 862 times; the highest number was in 2011, when it did so in 1,430 cases. Last year, the police did so 1,306 times. Experts note that domestic abuse has several forms: physical, sexual, psychological and economic.
Some 7,000 women in the Czech Republic are victims of rape every year, suggests a study conducted by Focus agency, commissioned by the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International. According to the study, only about 20 percent of the perpetrators are complete strangers to the victims and only two percent of the rapists are punished by courts. The study also suggests that nine out of ten women raped do not report the offence.
In this week’s Czech Life my guest is Pavlína O’Toole, the Czech-American author of a new book called Čas robinsonů. The novel the story of an expatriate in the US struggling to escape domestic violence. A website of the same name also exists to help people trapped in abusive and dangerous relationships, to try and show that, with courage, there is a way out.