Sunday, 20 April 2014

Justice minister protests Hasenkopf's statements on amnesty authorship

7 May 2013

Prague, May 6 (CTK) - Lawyer Zdenek Koudelka did not help draft the controversial New Year presidential amnesty as an employee of the Czech Justice Ministry, Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS) told radio yesterday.

Lawyer Pavel Hasenkopf, former legal adviser to previous Czech president Vaclav Klaus, called Koudelka, former Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy and an unsuccessful candidate for a Constitutional Court judge, the amnesty's author.

Blazek called Hasenkopf "an insane clerk."

Blazek also said apart from Koudelka and other lawyers, about whom he did not know, it was exactly Hasenkopf who had participated in the drafting of the amnesty, declared by then president Klaus on January 1 shortly before his term expired on March 7.

Blazek thereby supported the opinion of President Milos Zeman who said Hasenkopf was a co-author of the amnesty, mainly of its controversial article that halted long-lasting criminal proceedings.

Blazek said he believes the statements by former Presidential Office political section head Ladislav Jakl who said they had more amnesty drafts at their disposal.

Klaus took full responsibility for his amnesty and he said he would declare it again in an unchanged form.

Blazek said Koudelka had sent a modified version of his draft amnesty, he had worked out five years ago, to the Presidential Office.

Blazek stressed that he had assigned no one at the ministry to work out a draft amnesty and he had not been asked to do so either.

Blazek also noted that Hasenkopf started softening his statements that the amnesty had been prepared by the Justice Ministry.

Blazek said he might file a legal complaint against Hasenkopf so that the court could confirm it.

About 6500 convicts have been released from prisons within Klaus's amnesty.

It applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences and elderly convicts.

Besides, it halts 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, including some high-profile corruption and financial fraud cases, which has caused a big outcry.

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