Former minister of justice and current government commissioner for human
rights, Helena Válková, defended laws against dissidents during the
Communist regime, the news site info.cz reported on Thursday.
At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, Mrs Válková published a series of articles in which she defended measures used by the Communist regime to restrict the rights of its opponents, the website writes.
It also says she collaborated on writing one of her articles with the state prosecutor Josef Urválek, who was responsible for securing the death sentences of Milada Horáková, Rudolf Slánský and others in 1950s Communist show trials.
Mrs Válková, whom President Miloš Zeman recently proposed for the post of the Czech Republic’s ombudswoman, denied any wrongdoing, saying the article was insulting and untruthful.
The US Embassy in Prague has honoured Šimon Pánek, a Velvet Revolution
student leader and founder of People in Need, one of the largest
humanitarian aid NGOs in the region.
Pánek was presented with the Alice Garrigue Masaryk Prize on International Human Rights Day. The distinction, named after the American-born wife of the first Czechoslovak president, is awarded to personalities for their work in that area.
People in Need (Člověk v tísni) is an internationally recognized Czech humanitarian organisation active in the fields of humanitarian aid, development and education.
Pánek founded the NGO in 1988 by organising a collection to aid victims of a devastating earthquake in Armenia.
Recently, Russia’s Ministry of Justice declared the Czech NGO “undesirable”, effectively banning it from operating in that country.
In the first of this series we heard the voice of Czechoslovakia’s first President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. His wife Charlotte was American, and thanks to her influence Tomáš became a champion of feminism. Charlotte went on to inspire many women both within Czechoslovakia and beyond and in this programme we hear some of them, speaking in their own words from the Czech Radio archive.
Over six thousand children in the Czech Republic are currently threatened with a distraint order over unpaid debts, while tens of thousands of young people have debts that they have carried over from their childhood. A new amendment to the Civil Code, set to be debated in the lower house on Monday, aims to prevent minors from falling into debt in the future.
Former student leader in 1989 and longtime head of the NGO People in Need,
Šimon Pánek, gave a somber speech before some 400 attendees at the 23rd
Prague Student Summit on Friday in which he said the the world was growing
increasingly dangerous, that democracy was weakening and globalization
between tyrants was becoming more and more the norm.
He expressed the view that the dominance of European and American influence was waning after 200 years making way for a multipolar world and suggested that authoritarian leaders and dictators were the ones taking advantage.
As an example, he pointed to many meetings between leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, asking students what they thought they talked about.
Mr Pánek was equally grim in his description of political developments on the domestic scene, referencing J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic The Lord of the Rings: "Mordor's power is growing" he said in describing the balance of power in the Czech Republic and the power bloc of the current president and the prime minister in resignation, which, in his view, was "nothing to cheer about".
The NGO head, who spoke after the US ambassador to Prague Stephen B. King and first round presidential candidate Marek Hilšer, said Czechia did not need as many new diplomats and experts as there were students at the summit but rather people who "fought for basic ideals, solidarity, were honorable and defended human rights".
The long-awaited film about Milada Horáková, a democratic MP executed by the Communists in 1950 and perhaps the most powerful symbol of resistance to Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime, officially premieres in Prague on Thursday evening. The film was made by Czech US-based director David Mrnka. The role of Milada Horáková is played by Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer:
The movie based on the life of politician Milada Horáková who was executed by the Communists after a show trial in the hardline 1950s is in post-production and will premiere on October 31st of this year. The film’s director, producer and scriptwriter David Mrnka spent nine years working on the project. Milada Horáková is portrayed by the Israeli-American actress Ayelet Zurer. American actor Robert Grant plays her husband. The screenplay is based on materials provided by Horáková’s daughter Jana Kánská.
The country’s Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes on Tuesday launched a new project to commemorate victims of former Czechoslovakia’s communist regime. Called “Last Address”, the idea was inspired by similar initiatives in Russia. Within the project, plaques will be installed at victims’ final addresses – recalling their lives and what they stood for, for which they died.