published: 05.01.2013, 16:04 | updated: 05.01.2013 16:15:14
Prague - Over 60,000 people have signed an Internet petition against the amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus as from January 2, and another 200,000 have expressed interest in the protest on Facebook social network so far, the petition authors have said.
Some people have also defended the amnesty on Facebook.
Klaus announced the partial amnesty in his New Year's speech on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Republic. It applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences, elderly convicts and also suspects whose criminal proceedings have lasted for more than eight years.
The amnesty will apply to some 32,000 people, according to the Justice Ministry´s estimates.
"We consider a similar act mockery of the honest and uneasy work of Czech policemen, state attorneys and judges," the petition says.
The amnesty is neither the right way of celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the Czech state´s establishment nor a good signal sent to "decent citizens," the petitioners point out.
In the amnesty, Klaus primarily took the sentence length into consideration as well as other additional attributes, such as the type of prisoner and crime, he said in an interview for daily Mlada fronta Dnes.
"In no case, it concerned and could concern individuals. I think it would be a fatal mistake if I knew concrete cases and decided accordingly. I did not have a single particular case in mind," Klaus told the paper.
According to a flash public opinion poll for public Czech Television (CT) released on Friday, over 80 percent (82.5) of Czechs disagree with the extent of the amnesty.
People mostly criticised the fact that the amnesty would halt proceedings of some serious economic crime cases.
Klaus decided to halt criminal proceedings if they lasted for over eight years. He referred to the European Human Rights Court that regards over six-year-long proceedings as lengthy.
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