The TOP 09 and Mayors and Independents parties have proposed that the
government be stripped of its right to remove a supreme state attorney
without giving a reason, iRozhlas.cz reported. The Czech Pirate Party are
preparing their own amendment to that effect and have convened a
cross-party discussion of the matter that will be attended by Minister of
Justice Marie Benešová, the news site said.
The opposition groupings have made the call following Ms. Benešová’s instalment as minister, which they regard as being connected to the police’s proposal that Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who appointed her, go on trial for EU subsidy fraud.
The third in a sequence of public protests against the change of justice minister is planned for Prague and other cities on Monday evening. The organisers are demanding Ms. Benešová’s removal and guarantees that Pavel Zeman will not be replaced as supreme state attorney.
On her first day in office as the new Czech justice minister, Marie Benešová, unveiled her plans for reforming the Czech judiciary. In an interview for the daily Lidové noviny, Benešová said she would like to introduce a three-tier court system, which would make the country’s two high courts and their state attorneys redundant.
Five people, including the prime minister and the high state prosecutor in Olomouc Ivo Ištvan, testified before a parliamentary commission on Tuesday on the subject of leaks from police files. The commission was called to investigate following the leak of internal police information in taped conversations between a journalist and ANO leader Andrej Babiš.
The State Prosecutors Office should investigate whether incriminating material (allegedly showing the head of protocol at Prague Castle, Jindřich Forejt, snorting an unidentified substance) could have been used to try and blackmail the official, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said. According to the minister, the video should also be investigated by the National Security Authority. The minister stressed that key questions remained over whether the video was created for the purposes of blackmailing Mr Forejt or others in his circle, or for other criminal purposes. He added that the method by which the material had been offered for sale to media sites was also unusual. Following the publication of screenshots from the video online, Mr Forejt tendered his resignation, citing personal and health reasons.
The State Attorney’s Office said it has closed an inquiry into suspicions that funds were embezzled in connection with release of two Czech kidnapped in Pakistan three years ago. The office said there were no grounds for any case to be answered. Hana Humpálová and Antonie Chrástecká were released in March last year after being held for two years. Rumours have abounded that a ransom was paid for their release but the payment has never been officially confirmed.
Supreme state attorney Lenka Bradáčová has been named the most influential woman in the Czech Republic for the fourth year running by Forbes magazine. The magazine’s editor said she merited top spot in the survey thanks to the courage and energy with which she tackles major cases involving business, politics and sometimes billions of crowns. Second on the list was the county’s European commissioner, Věra Jourová of ANO, followed by the financial director of PPF, Kateřina Jirásková.
The Prague Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal taken by the state attorney’s office after a nurse accused of murdering six patients was found innocent by a lower court. Věra Marešová had been accused of injecting patients with overdoses of potassium at a hospital in the north Bohemian town of Rumburk between 2010 and 2014. She had denied the charge from the beginning.
A state prosecutor has proposed 3 to 6.5 year sentences for the five people charged in connection with the devastating series of explosions at the Vrbětice munitions depot last year. Police searching the grounds later found internationally banned anti-personnel land mines in storage, which have been banned since 1997 by the Ottawa Convention. Five people from Excalibur Army and Real Trade, weapons trading companies which stored ammunition at the depot, are now standing trial on charges of violating the law on arms licensing and holding illegal weapons.
Minister of Justice Robert Pelikan has said that he want to push through with a new proposed law on the state prosecution service. Pelikan was speaking on Czech Television’s flagship public affairs programme on Sunday. The proposal has already been approved by the government but has still to go through the two houses of parliament. One of the controversial moves in the proposal is the creation of a new team of prosecutors which would handle major cases of corruption and economic crime. Critics of the proposal have included Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman. He said he is worried that the initial proposal will be radically changed by parliamentary amendments.
Prague state attorney Dagmar Machová will as of now not lead criminal cases following searches last week of her office and others. The police swoops were related to the alleged leak of information about high profile cases: three people, including a former police detective from the anti-corruption unit, were charged with abuse of office and taking bribes. In the past, state attorney Machová was involved in cases such as the Opencard, in which two former Prague mayors are charged. The decision to sideline her from major cases was taken by the Municipal State Attorneys’ Office, spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenklová confirmed.