Thursday, 14 March 2019

Presidential Office not facing distraint over Zeman's words

ČTK |
18 July 2018

Prague, July 17 (CTK) - A Prague district court has halted the distraint proceedings that the Presidential Office faced for ignoring the verdict on apology for President Milos Zeman's abusive words on the late democratic journalist Ferdinand Peroutka, public Czech Television (CT) has reported.

The district court decided so after the Supreme Court annulled the verdicts ordering the Presidential Office to apologise for Zeman's statements about Peroutka to his granddaughter Terezie Kaslova.

The Supreme Court returned the case to the district court for reappraisal. The Prague 1 district court will therefore decide on the whole dispute anew.

Along with halting the Presidential Office's distraint, the district court also decided that neither Kaslova nor Zeman's office had the right to have their distraint proceeding costs covered. The court distraint officer will not receive any remuneration either.

Peroutka (1895-1978) was a prominent democratic journalist during the interwar period and was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945.

In his address at a conference on the Holocaust on January 27,in 2015, Zeman said Peroutka had shown pro-Nazi leanings, and he kept insisting that he had read Peroutka's article called "Hitler is a Gentleman." His spokesman Jiri Ovcacek searched for the article for a long time, but in vain. Historians said Peroutka had not written such a text.

Zeman also claimed that Peroutka was the author of the statement "If one cannot sing with the angels, one must howl with the wolves." But later it was proved that this had been said by Jan Stransky.

The lower-level court originally ordered that the state must apologise to Kaslova for the president calling her grandfather the author of the article headlined "Hitler is a Gentleman," but need not apologise for a mistake with Stransky's statement.

As the Presidential Office did not apologise within a seven-day deadline since the verdict took effect, Kaslova lodged a proposal for distraint against the office in the form of fines.

A distraint officer imposed a fine of 100,000 crowns on the Presidential Office then.

However, in October 2016, the Supreme Court postponed the execution of the valid verdict until it proceeded the petitions for appellate review filed both by Kaslova and Zeman's office. Consequently, the distraint was averted. The court argued with a threat of a severe harm to be caused to the Presidential Office by a property distraint.

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