Former "people's prosecutor" enters prison for 1950 judicial murder

20-03-2009

An 87-year-old former “people’s prosecutor” has entered prison to begin a six-year sentence for her role in one of the most notorious Communist show-trials of the 1950s, in which democratic politician Milada Horáková was sent to the gallows on trumped up charges. Ludmila Brožová-Polednová voluntarily entered prison on Thursday evening, and will now undergo medical tests to ascertain whether she is fit to serve her sentence.

Brožová-Polednová was sentenced in November 2007, and since then has been fighting the verdict in court. She’s lost a series of appeals - even an appeal from the supreme state attorney to president Klaus to pardon her was turned down. Most recently the Supreme Court turned down her latest appeal, which means her only avenue left is the Constitutional Court then the European Court of Justice.

However she surprised everyone by turning up at Plzeň’s Bory prison on Thursday evening after saying goodbye to her family. She was immediately transferred to Prague’s Pankrác Prison hospital for tests to determine whether she is fit enough to serve her sentence. If she is, she’ll be sent to a special geriatric facility at a prison in Světlá nad Sázavou in Central Bohemia where she’ll begin her six year sentence for her role in the judicial murder of Milada Horáková.

Brožová-Polednová is 87, and there is a lot of debate over whether it’s right to send someone of her age to prison. However Milada Horáková is a national heroine in this country, and Mrs Polednová is absolutely unrepentant for her role in the 1950 trial, saying she was part of a struggle against western imperialists.

Brožová-Polednová’s case was not helped by some of the evidence that came to light during the trial, in particular allegations that she had told Horáková’s executioners – “don’t break her neck on the noose – suffocate the bitch”. Certainly it seems Horáková – who was quite innocent of the espionage and treason charges against her - died a horrible and agonising death. So sympathy for Brožová-Polednová, whose prison cell, while not luxurious, will not be too squalid either, is rather limited.

20-03-2009