Communist show-trial prosecutor dead at 96

10-12-2012

Former Communist-era prosecutor and judge, Karel Vaš, a key figure in show trials in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Czechoslovakia, is dead at 96. The news website iDnes was the first to report the story. After 1989, the former judge was charged with, as the main prosecutor, having contributed to the judicial murder of General Heliodor Píka in 1949; he was never punished as the case fell under the statute of limitations.

The police labelled the trial of Píka (a representative of the anti-Nazi resistance) a judicial farce. An investigation found that a fake document was added to General Píka’s file ‘proving’ he had worked for British intelligence. Karel Vaš joined the Communist Party at the age of 17 and became a prosecutor and judge after the Communists assumed power in Czechoslovakia in 1948.