Minister seeks pardon for Vítkov arson victim

22. 4. 2009 8:00
Seriously injured Romani man is transferred from hospital to jail while his daughter remains in critical condition.
Michael Kocáb will ask the president to waive Kudrik's jail penalty.
Michael Kocáb will ask the president to waive Kudrik's jail penalty. | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Vítkov - Michael Kocáb, the Czech minister for human rights and minorities, will ask President Václav Klaus to pardon Pavel Kudrik, whose baby daughter is in a critical condition after last week's arson attack against the family's house in the north Moravian village of Vítkov.

Kudrik, who also sustained serious injuries in the fire, was arrested on Monday after two days in an Opava hospital and transported to a prison, where he is to serve a one-year sentence for theft.

The man had been sentenced long before the attack, but failed to report to jail in December. The police only traced the man while investigating the suspected arson attack against his family.

From hospital to jail

Aktuálně.cz has found out that Kudrik has been transferred to a clinic at the Pankrác prison in Prague. "Police guarded the patient already at the hospital. On Monday around 2pm an ambulance drove him away under police supervision," the Opava hospital's spokesman said.

Kudrik's partner and mother of the child also wants to petition for a respite of the man's sentence or for a presidential pardon. "Our daughter is dying, we are both suffering, and now this," the 27-year-old mother of four children has told Aktuálně.cz.

Kumar Vishwanathan, a social worker from Ostrava who has been helping the Romani family, now wants to help the woman to compile her petition. "The father and the whole family are now going through incredibly difficult times," he says. "Since [Kudrik] did not commit any serious crime, we will try to at least defer the sentence."

Kudrik's house was set on fire by unknown aggressors.
Kudrik's house was set on fire by unknown aggressors. | Foto: Tomáš Netočný

Racial hatred among possible motives

The house in which Pavel Kudrik lived with his partner, four children and other relatives was set on fire on Saturday by unknown arsonists. Kudrik's two-year-old daughter sustained potentially deadly burns; Kudrik and his partner suffered serious injuries.

Police have so far not found the perpetrators, but have found evidence of a planned attack with a bottle bomb. Police say the motive remains unclear, but hate crime can't be ruled out.

The detectives investigating the case are looking for a dark vehicle that witnesses saw parked not far from the crime scene.


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