Ex-Slovak prime minister Robert Fico charged with racism

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 file photo, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, right, gives a media statement, with Minister of Interior Robert Kalinak, left, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Slovakia’s police say they have charged former Prime Minister Robert Fico with racism for his comments about the embattled Roma minority. The investigators say Fico, a populist leader, publicly agreed with racist remarks about the Roma made by a far-right lawmaker who was convicted of racism by a court earlier this year. Police said Thursday, Dec.5, 2019 Fico could face up to five years in prison if tried and convicted. (AP Photo/Bundas Engler, file)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) — Slovakia’s police say they have charged former Prime Minister Robert Fico with racism for his comments about the embattled Roma minority.

The investigators say Fico, a populist leader, publicly agreed with racist remarks about the Roma made by a far-right lawmaker who was convicted of racism by a court earlier this year.

The 2016 radio remarks by the lawmaker, Milan Mazurek of the People’s Party Our Slovakia, included pejorative words and accusations about the Roma population who he claimed “have never done anything for the nation.”

Mazurek became the first Slovak lawmaker to lose a seat following a criminal conviction.

Fico said that almost the entire nation would agree with Mazurek’s words.

Police said Thursday that Fico could face up to five years in prison if tried and convicted.

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