Credit: Freepik

Constitutional Court Rejects Cardinal’s Complaint Against Theatre Plays

This verdict is the end of the case in the Czech Republic. Photo credit: Freepik.

Brno, Oct 11 (CTK) – The Czech Constitutional Court today rejected a complaint by Cardinal Dominik Duka and lawyer Ronald Nemec, who demanded that theatres in Brno apologise to them for the staging of two plays, which they said infringed on their personal rights.

This verdict is the end of the case in the Czech Republic; the Czech judiciary will not deal with it any further.

Duka and Nemec were demanding an apology from the Brno National Theatre and Experimental Theatre Centre in Brno over the staging of two plays by Croat director Oliver Frljic during the Brno Theatre World Festival 2018. The plays, “Our Violence and Your Violence” and “The Curse”, depicted Christian symbols in a provocative manner and criticized both the Roman Catholic Church and the Western view of the Muslim World. One of the scenes in the first play includes Jesus raping a Muslim woman, which provoked protests during the performance. In the other play, there is a statue depicting Pope John Paul II with an erection.

The Constitutional Court said judges should not be guardians of morality. The court cited freedom of speech and the freedom of artistic expression.

“Both plays followed a legitimate goal, aiming to provoke a public discussion about religious violence and sexual incidents in one of the churches,” said judge-rapporteur Ludvik David.

He said the public was informed about the contents of the plays in advance, including the controversial scenes, and were able to decide for themselves whether they wanted to watch the play or not.

Neither Duka nor Nemec were among the audience at the theatre festival.

The Brno Municipal Court first rejected the lawsuit filed both against the Brno National Theatre, which organised the festival, and the Experimental Theatre Centre (CED) where the controversial performances were staged. Duka and Nemec appealed the verdict with the Brno Regional Court, but their appeal was turned down. They then turned to the Supreme Court, which upheld the previous verdict.

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