Czech court scraps 60-year-old communist verdict on farmer


19.03.2014 12:50

Brno - The Czech Supreme Court (NS) today abolished the almost 60-year-old verdict on Marie Svejdova, a south Bohemian farmer convicted in a communist show trial in 1955, thereby meeting the justice minister´s complaint in favour of Svejdova.


Síň Nejvyššího soudu ČR v Brně. ČTK

The case will again be dealt with by the state attorney who is expected to halt the prosecution of Svejdova (1905-1989), whom the judiciary rehabilitated only partially after the 1989 fall of the communist regime.

The criminal complaint was filed against Svejdova in the mid-1950s by the local authority in Marcovice, south Bohemia, which branded her "a saboteur of the national economy and a subversive element."

Her guilt allegedly was that as a private farmer she left about five hectares of land lying fallow. She repeatedly offended local authority and agricultural cooperative officials and her cattle grazed on the cooperative´s fields, the plaintiffs said.

In 1955, the south Bohemian court branded Svejdova a "staunch kulak." Although she was seriously ill, she was sentenced to three years in prison for sabotage, for attacking people, offending public officials and damaging cooperative property.

She was stripped of property and civil rights.

In 1990, the court scrapped the prison sentence Svejdova received for sabotage, but it left the other suspended sentences unchanged.

The then justice minister Marie Benesova in 2013 lodged a complaint against the breach of law in this case. Her view that the communists tried Svejdova for purely political reasons, within their farming collectivisation efforts, has been upheld by the Supreme Court today.

Svejdova "was not tried and convicted for what she did but because she belonged to a certain social class that the totalitarian power wanted to eliminate," her defence lawyer Matus Hanuliak said.

He said the state attorney is left with no other possibility than to halt the proceedings.

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