Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Klaus's aide: New Year amnesty drafted by ministry

ČTK |
2 May 2013

Prague, May 1 (CTK) - The New Year amnesty declared by former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, that caused a general outrage, was drafted by the Justice Ministry, Pavel Hasenkopf, an aide to the Presidential Office, told the servers Tyden.cz, iDnes.cz and IHNED Tuesday.

Klaus declared the amnesty on January 1. About 6500 convicts were released from prisons within it. The amnesty also applied to suspended sentences and alternative punishments.

The Senate then filed a high treason complaint against Klaus with the Constitutional Court over the amnesty and other issues. The court rejected the complaint.

Vratislav Mynar, head of new President Milos Zeman's office, said in daily Pravo a few days ago that Hasenkopf had been one of the drafters of the amnesty.

Hasenkopf said he had made the first version, but its final form was quite different.

He said the claim that the amnesty had been drafted by the Justice Ministry was corroborated by the fact that it was evidently made by an expert.

Hasenkopf refused to say whether the text had been drawn by up by state attorney Zdenek Koudelka who worked at the Justice Ministry as reported by daily Lidove noviny.

"Evidently, the Justice Ministry pursued two objectives: first, it wanted to alleviate overcrowded prisons, second, it wanted to get rid of old cases that burdened the judiciary for years," Hasenkopf said.

Hasenkopf said only minor changes to the final text had been made at the Presidential Office.

Mlynar said Klaus's assistants Ladislav Jakl andPetr Hajek and lawyer Hasenkopf had been the real authors of the controversial presidential amnesty.

He said Hasenkopf was still the Presidential Office's lawyer but that the cooperation would probably end.

Mynar told the paper that Jakl, Hajek and Hasenkopf were responsible for Article 2 of the amnesty, its most controversial part.

This article halted criminal proceedings if they lasted for more than eight years, and if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years. It caused big outcry as it applied to some high-profile corruption and financial fraud cases.

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