Police have arrested a Pakistani citizen sought by his home country on suspicion of murder and terrorism. Interior Minister Jan Kubice told Czech Television on Sunday that the man had been arrested last week by detectives from the organised crime department of the police, and that he had applied for asylum in the Czech Republic. An international warrant for the man’s arrest had been issued by Pakistan itself, however, the ministry has not yet received any request for his extradition. Last week, Czech police announced they had arrested eight foreigners providing financial and material support to the radical Islamic organisation Shariat Jamaat of Dagestan.
Mr Kubice also told Czech Television that the police and fire departments lack money for December. The Interior Ministry will carry out an analysis to determine whether the services have the money to “survive” to the end of the year. Mr Kubice said that a shortfall would cause a massive security risk, as older and more experienced policemen, namely those aged 35 to 38 could resign. He intends to discuss the situation with the prime minister and finance minister. Members of the security services had their wages decreased by several percent this year after 8.4 billion to the ministry’s budget.
Czech political and military figures commemorated the 66th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on Sunday. A ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the hill of Vítkov, in Prague. The playing of the national anthem was followed by a minute of silence and a three-gun salute. Soldiers and politicians then laid wreathes in memory of the fallen. President Václav Klaus conferred honorary names upon four army units and later in the day appointed new generals of the army and customs administration.
Trade unions are calling for new, detailed negotiations with the government on reforms. The unions are threatening protests and strikes in the absence of changes to the reform proposals. Some 2,000 people protested the reforms in Prague on Saturday; another demonstration is scheduled for May 21 on Prague’s Wenceslaus Square. The head of the Czech-Moranian Confederation of Trade Unions, Jaroslav Zavadil, says the unions do not want to hear anymore that changes are impossible because of the government’s policy statement. They say they may decide on further concrete measures on Monday at a meeting of their council.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas said Sunday that certain members of the Constitutional Court are biased. Speaking to TV Prima on last week’s court decision that struck down a government tax on building savings, Mr Nečas referred specifically to Judge Eliška Wagnerová, who compared the finance minister’s method of presenting the bill to methods used in Nazi Germany. Mr Nečas said the comparison “boggled the mind” and that in Western European states she would be forced to consider her resignation. The prime minister also allowed that the Constitutional Court’s “activism” in some cases led to legitimate debate. Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka called the accusation of bias unacceptable.
A poll conducted by the SANEP agency suggests that more than two-thirds of Czechs agree with the Constitutional Court’s decision on the government’s building savings tax. Roughly 70% of respondents supported the verdict, which cancelled a special 50% tax rate on deposits from state support. The court found the law unconstitutional in that it retroactively affects contracts signed under the previous conditions. The poll also suggested that a large majority do not agree with President Klaus’ criticism that the court is politicised. 53% see the court as an entirely independent institution.
The streets of the Czech capital on Sunday belonged to thousands of runners from around the world who participated in the annual Prague International Marathon. The first to cross the finish line in the men’s race were three Kenyans led by long-distance runner Benson Kipchumba Barus, who set a new personal record at 2:07:08. Second place was taken by Kenneth Mburu Mungara and third by Samuel Kiplimo Kosgei, who was in the race for the first time. The women’s race was won as expected by Kenyan Lydia Cheromei, who set a new track record at 2:22:34, breaking that of second place contestant Helena Kirop, also of Kenya.
Conditions over the coming days are expected to be sunny and warm with daytime highs of around 20° Celsius.