Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) – The Prague 1 District Court today gave two German brothers, Niclas Steiger and Benjamin Wittig, a one-year suspended sentence and a penalty of 100,000 crowns each for spray painting the 14th century Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague, in July.
The court also expelled the two foreigners from the Czech Republic for five years.
The verdict has not taken effect as both the state attorney and the defendants took time for considering an appeal.
The younger man, Steiger, confessed to the crime, while the other one denied the charges.
“The defendants were clearly proven guilty by the witnesses’ testimonies,” judge Pavla Hajkova said.
Wittig claims that it was his brother who spray painted the bridge pillar, while Steiger confirmed his words.
Restorers started removing the sprayed pattern from the bridge on July 27 and planned to work until mid-August. However, the graffiti disappeared suddenly in the night of July 28 and Miroslav Cerny later admitted he had removed it.
The 520-metre-long Charles Bridge, originally called “Stone Bridge,” was founded in 1357 under the reign of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Roman Emperor.
At the end of the 17th and in the 18th centuries, the bridge turned into a splendid gallery of baroque statues of saints. Some of them were added later. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Prague.