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Czech teacher acquitted after telling students "war not real"

Martina Bednarova arrives in court in Prague.
Martina Bednarova arrives in court in Prague. Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Jiri Skacel with Rory Elliott Armstrong
Published on Updated
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The defence claims Martina Bednarova is a victim of Russian propaganda. The court says losing her job has been punishment enough.

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Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, teacher Martina Bednarova told children at her elementary school in Prague that there was no war.

They were also told, as Russian propaganda says, that Ukrainians have been murdering, burning, and skinning Russian citizens in the Donbas since 2014. 

She was then put on trial. 

"She denied the war, for example, by declaring that nothing was happening in Kyiv. Kyiv was the main target of the attack on 25 February," said lawyer Richard Petrasek.

The pupils, however, recorded her statements and the teacher was dismissed from the school. She was also accused of denying, questioning, approving, and justifying genocide.

"You obviously don't understand the spoken word either, when I say I'm not going to comment and when I say, thank you, I'm done," Martina Bednarova told reporters outside the courtroom.

Expert analyst Roman Maca blames the situation on the fact that Bednarova is a victim of "Russian war propaganda" and "various conspiracies", and that she believed it so much that she started to drag it into the school and put it into the heads of the children. "Which I find unacceptable," said Maca.

The court said the defendant's act was not a crime and the woman had failed as a teacher, for which firing was punishment enough. The school has declined to comment on the case.

Maca claims that the teacher has "lost touch with reality" and it is "problematic for someone to teach such children". 

"It would probably be wrong for someone who teaches physics to announce that the earth is flat," concluded the analyst.

Martina Bednarova pleaded guilty in court and claimed that everything she said was just her opinion.

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