Czech press survey - February 13


13.02.2014 08:29

Prague - All Czech dailies today comment on the launch of prosecution of former prime minister and Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Necas over suspected bribing of three ODS rebel deputies in 2012.


Někdejší premiér Petr Nečas (ODS) hovoří s novináři při odchodu z pražské policejní služebny, kde 14. listopadu odmítl vypovídat v kauze bývalé šéfky svého kabinetu a nynější manželky Jany Nečasové (dříve Nagyové). Případ se týká podezření z uplácení poslanců a nezákonného sledování lidí. ČTK Šimánek Vít

The original resoluteness of state attorney Ivo Istvan, who tried to prove that giving lucrative posts to the three ex-MPs was at variance with law and Necas was a criminal, has developed into fanaticism now, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).

One can but shudder when hearing Istvan say that the accusation of Necas is a step towards solving a "question of all-society importance," Honzejk writes.

First, in free democracy, questions of all-society importance are not a matter for the police to solve, he says.

Second, in free democracy, the police and state attorneys must not extend the legal interpretation of articles of law and try to criminalise what was not criminalised before. This approach creates conditions in which anyone can be accused of anything, Honzejk writes.

Third, in free democracy, the law enforcement bodies cannot seek answers to questions by making experiments on people. If the authorities lost their respect towards individuals, the country would find itself outside the community of western liberal democracies, Honzejk writes.

The guilts of politicians that are not of a clearly criminal character should be punished by voters, not the police. It is bad if the repressive bodies start believing that they protect the people against regularly elected politicians, Honzejk writes.

Istvan does not realise that by his action he undermines the rule of law in the Czech Republic, he adds.

In Lidove noviny (LN), Martin Zverina criticises Robert Slachta, head of the Czech police´s organised crime squad, who openly admitted that his campaign against former PM Petr Necas is his personal revenge on him.

Slachta on Wednesday said that his public presentation of a police video that shows the mid-2013 detention of Jana Nagyova, the then PM Necas´s aide and mistress, was rightful in view of the fact that Necas has repeatedly attacked the police in media interviews and compared their action to "the Gestapo."

According to Slachta, the disclosure of the video is in the public interest now that "someone has tried to weaken the position of the police."

True, Necas´s criticism of the police action sounded hysterical now and then. However, this is not a reason for him as a repressive body officer to use personal "weapons" against Necas. Necas is a private person, while Slachta is an "authority" paid by taxpayers, Zverina points out.

If the court complied with state attorney Ivo Istvan´s proposal and sentenced former PM Petr Necas for having bribed three MPs into leaving parliament by offering lucrative posts to them, Istvan should also seek a similar punishment for Necas´s successors Jiri Rusnok and Bohuslav Sobotka, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo.

Rusnok allowed himself to be bribed into accepting the post of interim prime minister in exchange for a seat on the Czech National Bank board, offered to him by President Milos Zeman, Mitrofanov writes.

It sounds as blatant nonsense to assess Rusnok´s step as criminal, but it corresponds to Istvan´s opinion on what is criminal in politics, Mitrofanov writes.

Similarly, if Istvan´s approach is applied, the court should punish the present PM Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), who yielded to the junior government Christian Democrats´ (KDU-CSL) blackmail and persuaded the CSSD lawmakers, including himself, not to support the abolition of the lustration law in order to prevent the KDU-CSL´s withdrawal from the government and the government´s collapse, Mitrofanov writes.

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