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Court cancels fine imposed on police over arrest video

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Prague, Nov 2 (CTK) – A Czech court on Thursday abolished the decision by which the Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) imposed a 60,000-crown fine on the Interior Ministry for releasing a police video showing how former prime minister’s office head Jana Necasova (formerly Nagyova) was arrested.

Judge Jan Kratochvil said public interest prevailed over Necasova’s right to privacy.

The public had the right to see that Necasova was arrested in a manner that did not violate law, which she challenged. “A loss of trust in the police could have had far-reaching consequences for the operation of the state,” Kratochvil said.

The police unit fighting organised crime arrested Necasova in the night on June 12, 2013 within an extensive raid at the Government Office. Necasova, head of the office of prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS), his secret lover and later wife, was the central figure of the suspected crimes, including political corruption, abuse of a secret service, leak of classified data and tax evasion. The scandal caused the fall of the Necas right-wing government.

In December 2013, former senior police officer Robert Slachta gave the police video recording of Necasova’s arrest to the public Czech Television (CT) which broadcast it.

The court on Thursday admitted that the release of the video violated Necasova’s privacy, but it noted that she was a person of public interest with lower rights to the protection of privacy. Moreover, only few details of her flat were shown and her face was out of focus and her emotions could not be seen, Kratochvil said.

Necasova complained about her arrest and claimed that it was inadequate. Slachta said he gave the video to CT to prove that no excesses occurred during the police intervention.

UOOU lawyer Jiri Mastalka challenged the argument that the release of the video recording could prove that no excesses occurred during the arrest. He said CT showed four minutes of the 20-minute recording. “One can hardly prove in this way that standard police procedures were observed. The doubts could not be dispelled,” Mastalka said.

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