Pres. moves on stricter security measures, while police investigate first IS case
By BOHEMIST STAFF
PRAGUE – In a sign of increasing concern over national security and terrorism, President Miloš Zeman is calling for the swift deportation of asylum seekers who have not been approved to stay in the Czech Republic, while simultaneously announcing a 100 million Kč (US$4.13 million) security buffer for Prague Castle.
The announcements, which were delivered during an online interview broadcast on the Blesk.cz website yesterday, come amid heightened security concerns in Europe following recent terrorist attacks in Germany and France. The Czech Republic, which has been less than welcoming of refugees fleeing from war torn areas in the Middle East, has been faced with increasingly hostile rhetoric from politicians with regard to its stance on immigration.
“I can see a solution [to terrorism] in the deportation of all who were not granted asylum in the respective country — as it is a majority of them,” President Zeman said during the interview, adding that he wished to also crack down on Muslim community leaders who could be viewed as fanatical.
Playing into nationalist fears, the President continued his assault on immigrants, calling the refugee crisis “an organized invasion” and saying that those who wished to relocate here were only interested in picking up free welfare checks.
What is more, he used the refugee crisis to openly reverse his position on gun ownership limitations saying: “In the past, I was against the possession of a too high number of arms, but I changed my mind after the attacks.”
On a related note, Respekt weekly today reported that police are now investigating the first known case of a Czech national caught seeking to join the Islamic State. The man, who was detained in Turkey on his way to Syria in January, faces a 12 year prison sentence after testifying his intention to join the terrorist group.