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October 25, 2015

Zeman: Most refugees do not deserve compassion

President claim the refugees are young men iPhones and thousands of dollars

Prague, Oct 25 (ČTK) — Most refugees do not deserve compassion because as a rule, they are young, healthy men with good material conditions, Czech President Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the paper blesk.tv today, adding that they only use children as living shields.

Zeman said he was unopposed to the idea of his predecessor, former president Václav Klaus, to stage a referendum on the quotas for the mandatory redistribution of the refugees most EU members want to have passed.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, ČSSD) said in reaction to Zeman that the refugees’ motivation must not be disputed.

Sobotka said the referendum on the quotas was useless.

It would be more expedient to give the hundreds of million crowns to the people in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, he added.

Zeman said he, too, felt compassion when looking at the children of the refugees coming to Europe.

However, there is the question of why their parents “drag” them along with them, risking their drowning in dinghies.

Zeman said a majority of the refugees were males with “iPads” and “iPhones” who had “thousands of euros and thousands of dollars” in their pockets.

He said with his attitude to the migrants he was only warning of a real danger before which other politicians were closing their eyes.

Zeman dismissed the recent criticism of Czech detention facilities for refugees by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein and Czech ombudsman Anna Šabatová.

Zeman said with “her militant views” Šabatová only wanted to promote herself.

Šabatová’s spokeswoman Iva Hrazdilková has told ČTK the ombudsman was only doing what she had to under the law. She would not comment on Zeman’s statements.

Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein argued that it was common for Czech authorities to hold the refugees for 40–90 days, strip searching them in order to gain money from them for the payment of their costs of their stay in the refugee facilities.

Last week, conditions in the refugee centers were criticized as being “worse than in prisons” by Šabatová and by Czech NGOs working with refugees.

Zeman said the Islamophobia for which he was criticized was opposition to Islamic radicalism.

Zeman said the Lisbon Treaty on the EU did not include any single word about the refugee quotas, only about a help to the EU countries facing an increased influx of foreigners.

Klaus wants the center-left government of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to “legalize” its position on the EU decision on the quotas in a referendum.

The government is against the quotas, but it is not ready to turn to court over them unlike the neighboring Slovakia.

Zeman said Slovakia’s legal complaint about the European Commission should be joined.

MEP Stanislav Polčák (Mayors and Independents, STAN) told Czech Television today that with their current rhetoric, both Zeman and Klaus wanted to “cover up their current and past problems.”

Zeman has been unable to gain the security clearance for the president’s chief of staff Vratislav Mynář, Polčák said.

Klaus wants his controversial amnesty to be forgotten, he added.

European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová (ANO) warned of the people able to influence the public opinion including Zeman and Klaus who may foment xenophobia and present a negative attitude to the refugees as a danger to society.

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