Friday, 25 April 2014

Lower house not to reject presidential amnesty

6 February 2013

Prague, Feb 5 (CTK) - The Czech senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) Tuesday for the second time failed to push through the proposal that the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, deal with the presidential amnesty and reject some of its provisions.

The Social Democrats unsuccessfully tried to push through the proposal in mid-January when they initiated a no-confidence vote in the coalition government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) over the amnesty that Necas counter-signed.

The CSSD's proposal was Tuesday supported by 87 out of 181 deputies present. The party needed another four votes to push it through.

President Vaclav Klaus, whose second and last five-year term expires on March 7, announced the presidential amnesty in his last New Year's address.

The amnesty applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences and elderly convicts. It also halts criminal proceedings if they have lasted for more than eight years, and if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years.

Especially this provision was sharply criticised since it, among others, applies to some big financial crime cases.

Chamber of Deputies and CSSD deputy chairman Lubomir Zaoralek said Klaus declared the amnesty at variance with the fundamental rights of crime victims.

"I cannot imagine that the Chamber of Deputies would not comment on it," he said.

The Chamber of Deputies Tuesday also refused to deal with a series of drafts submitted by deputy and former CSSD regional governor David Rath since Rath could not defend them in person being in custody on the basis of corruption charges.

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