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Czech News in English » News » National » Students reconstruct communist show trial of General Sedláček

Students reconstruct communist show trial of General Sedláček

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Prague, March 3 (CTK) – A reconstruction of a communist show trial that sentenced Czechoslovak army officer Tomas Sedlacek to life in 1951 was staged at the High Court in Prague on Saturday by students of Charles University’s Faculty of Law, who performed the roles of the accused, prosecutors and judges.

The event was a part of the Mene Tekel festival against totalitarianism, which annually commemorates mainly the victims of Nazism and communism.

Based on archive documents, the students acquainted the audience with the life story of Sedlacek.

“It is a homage paid to one of the heroes of our modern history,” the festival’s organiser Jan Rericha said.

Sedlacek was one of the Czechoslovak soldiers who fought abroad during WWII and after returning home, they were persecuted as enemies by the Czechoslovak communist regime.

“They were brutally liquidated instead of meeting with gratitude and honours,” Rericha said.

During the war, Sedlacek fled the Nazi-controlled Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He gradually fought in France and England, from where he was sent to the eastern front in 1944. He took part in the liberation of Slovakia.

Rericha, who had prepared the reconstructed trial, used statements from Sedlacek’s book of memories, which show that Sedlacek expected his arrest by the communists, because he knew about the preceding show trials of people such as democratic politician Milada Horakova and General Heliodor Pika.

Sedlacek was arrested on February 21, 1951 over an alleged conspiracy and subversive activities. He was subjected to brutal interrogation in order to make fictitious confessions.

He was sentenced to life, and released only within an amnesty in 1960. He did manual work and later worked as a designer. Rehabilitated after the fall of communism, Sedlacek was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1999 and further to the rank of the General of the Army in 2008. He died in 2012, aged 94.

The student performance aimed to show how the totalitarian regime misused judiciary to liquidate its supposed enemies. Sedlacek’s memories show that the accused were exposed to torture and blackmail, and under the pressure, they confessed to crimes they never committed.

Saturday’s reconstructed trial was the tenth such performance the students prepared for the Mene Tekel festival. Last year, they staged a show trial of a group of priests.

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