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Politicians, artists sue Czech state for human rights violation

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Prague, April 6 (CTK) – A group of public personalities has filed a legal complaint against the Czech Republic for violations of constitutional and human rights, mainly in connection with a recent visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, they said in a press release on Wednesday.

It was signed by former ministers and other politicians and artists.

“The events of the past months and weeks and mainly the police steps and the (Prague) City Hall’s measures during the visit by the Chinese president lead us to this step: We are suing the state and we will defend us by all possible means that the law and the constitution of the republic give us,” writes the group, calling itself the citizens of the Czech Republic who “sharply disagree with the violations of constitutional and human rights and academic freedoms in this country.”

The statement has been signed by former ministers Martin Bursik, Jan Kalvoda, Michael Kocab and Jan Ruml, defence lawyer and former deputy justice minister Hana Marvanova and former MP Katerina Jacques as well as Jan Urban, dissident and former spokesman for the Civic Forum (OF), main force behind the fall of the communist regime in late 1989, the sister-in-law of the late president Vaclav Havel, Dagmar Havlova, actor and director Bretislav Rychlik and senator Zdenek Papousek (unaffiliated).

They also criticise the change in the Czech foreign policy’s course, manifested, for instance, by President Milos Zeman’s statement for the Chinese state TV.

Before the visit by his Chinese counterpart, Zeman said in an interview with the China Central Television (CCTV) that the previous centre-right cabinet of Petr Necas had yielded to the pressure by the USA and the EU very much.

“We demand a clear stance of the parliament and government on the change in foreign policy and human rights and freedoms. We demand that the procedure of the police and the City Hall be investigated and a parliamentary investigating commission be established in this respect,” the group writes.

Xi Jinping’s visit has stirred up controversial reactions in the Czech Republic, both among politicians and in broad public.

Some people who welcomed the Chinese president were attacking the protesters against human rights violations in China. Some Czech activists have complained about the police steps.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) asked Police President Tomas Tuhy to explain the police steps during an incident with a Tibetan flag hoisted by the Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague. Two men entered the FAMU building, presenting themselves as criminal police and showing interest in the flag hoisting.

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