PRAGUE: A 71-year-old Czech pensioner who attempted to derail two trains and then blame it on a fictional jihadist attack was sentenced on Monday to four years in prison for terrorism.
Jaromir Balda felled trees in the summer of 2017 with the intention of blocking railway tracks and forcing derailments near the central town of Mlada Boleslav, the court in Prague heard.
Two regional trains hit the trees but none of the passengers on-board were injured.
“The decision on his guilt was not complicated, the punishment is adequate,” said judge Jiri Wazik, reading the judgement in the court in Prague.
Prosecutors said only a “happy combination of circumstances” had prevented anyone from being injured in the incidents.
Balda left leaflets containing messages in Arabic, transcribed into Latin characters, in an attempt to blame the attack on Muslim migrants, the court heard.
He wanted to spark concerns about Muslims and migrants among the wider Czech population and spread fear about terror attacks, prosecutors said.
“The defendant wanted the blame for the attacks to be attributed to migrants practicing Islam,” said prosecutor Martin Bily.
During the trial, Balda said he often had nightmares about migrants.
He told the judge he supported the anti-immigrant policies of the far-right SPD, an anti-EU, anti-Muslim party, which won 11 per cent of the vote in 2017 legislative elections.
The SPD has officially distanced itself from Balda, calling him “broken” and “desperate”.
The court, which could have sentenced Balda to 15 years in prison but gave him a lesser sentence, said he would be required to undergo psychiatric therapy.