Czech court banishes Rom with Czech citizenship

10 September 1998

Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on May 28 that on the previous day a district court in Teplice in northern Czech Republic had sentenced a Romani man named Milan Sivák to expulsion from the country, despite his being in possession of Czech citizenship. In addition to nine years of imprisonment, Judge Miroslav Čapek ruled that Milan Sivák, born in Pardubice, Czech Republic, shall be expelled from the country. Mr Sivák has had Czech citizenship since February 1998. He was convicted on charges of rape, robbery, blackmail, bodily harm and theft. Judge Čapek told Mladá Fronta Dnes, "At the time when Sivák committed the criminal activity, he still had Slovak citizenship inherited from his parents. Officials from the Ministry of the Interior granted him Czech citizenship as late as this year. They even waived the fact that he had been convicted several times before." Under a 1996 amendment to the Czech Republic's citizenship law, Interior Ministry officials have discretion to waive a five year clean criminal record requirement in order to grant citizenship to former Czechoslovaks. Judge Čapek went on to state, "[...] it is in the interest of the Czech Republic's inhabitants that such a man is expelled. The court does not have to accept the decision of the ministerial officials." Judicial expulsion of a country's own citizens is almost unheard of and is in drastic violation of international law. Mr Sivák has appealed the decision.

(Tolerance Foundation, Mladá Fronta Dnes)


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