Slovakia detained a Czech conspiracy theorist for spreading disinformation

On June 24, Slovak police announced the arrest of Czech Pavel Zitko, an unsuccessful presidential candidate from the Czech Republic who has been on the run for more than two months for spreading disinformation and “disturbing news.” This was reported by Seznam Zpravy.

The Slovak police said that they “detained a Czech citizen, P. Z., who was issued a European arrest warrant by a court in the Czech Republic.” The Czech media, however, confirmed that it was Zitko.

Zitko was wanted for spreading disinformation and disturbing news

On April 23, the Czech Republic placed the man on the wanted list after he failed to appear in court.

They brought charges against him on suspicion of spreading “disturbing news.” According to the indictment, in 2021, the man published false reports about COVID-19 on social media.

During the presidential election in 2023, Pavel Zitko wanted to run for office but did not collect enough signatures. In October, police detained him on a highway on suspicion of embezzlement.

Pavel Zitko is known for spreading conspiracy theories, pro-Russian narratives and pro-Trump statements.

Spreading the disturbing message

Pavel Zítko has been indicted for spreading disinformation, or more precisely, for spreading disturbing messages, the local media reported.

According to the indictment, during the pandemic, he questioned the virus’s existence and spoke in his videos about the negative health consequences of vaccination.

In 2021, for example, he stated in his videos that vaccines against the coronavirus cause thickening of the blood, which then flows more slowly in the veins, and are responsible for miscarriages in pregnant women.

When you stab them, the children’s brains don’t develop, which means they go blind,” the police order to prosecute quotes Zítko as saying about vaccinating children. Pavel Zítko himself posted the document on the internet.

In May, he was involved in an incident at the Municipal Court in Prague, where supporters of former journalist Jana Peterková, who is also on trial for spreading disturbing news, kicked down the door to the courtroom. In that case, they have already indicted him.

He also drew attention to himself later at the District Court for Prague 8, where he and other people expressed their support for the defendants, Patrik Tušl and Tomáš Čermák, with loud speeches and chants. At Zítko’s instruction, about 20 demonstrators lay down on the floor in the corridor outside the courtroom and sang the national anthem.

In May, the United States and the Czech Republic signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation in countering the manipulation of information by foreign powers.

Prior to that, the Czech Senate warned that Russian influence and disinformation campaigns in the EU pose a significant threat to the integrity of the upcoming European Parliament elections.

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