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Councillor removes info on Zeman’s poor health from web

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Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) – Brno councillor Svatopluk Bartik deleted his statements about Czech President Milos Zeman suffering from cancer from his Facebook profile on Thursday, saying he did not expect them to provoke such a strong wave of negative emotions.

Bartik wrote on Facebook at the beginning of the week that Zeman had cancer and that he had three to seven months of life left. The president knows the diagnosis and rejected the treatment, Bartik said.

The Presidential Office and Zeman’s doctor denied the statements. Bartik faces a lawsuit over his words.

Bartik keeps insisting on the public having the right to know the president’s health condition.

“I did not expect my Tuesday information to stir up such a storm and primarily such a wave of negative emotions targetted both at me and the president. This is why I am deactivating my post from Monday,” Bartik wrote on Facebook.

Bartik (for Live Brno movement) also wrote on Facebook he had posted information about Zeman’s poor health condition in connection with Zeman’s intention to seek re-election.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek called the statements about Zeman’s health untrue. He said the Presidential Office would like to prevent Bartik from spreading the information.

Ovcacek tweeted later that Zeman’s lawyer had filed a criminal complaint on suspicion of libel and a lawsuit for the protection of personal rights.

Zeman told Barrandov commercial television station tonight that that he would demand an apology from Bartik and financial compensation of five million crowns.

He said Bartik’s statement might persuade some people not to support him in the election because of the alleged terminal illness. The election campaign is becoming more and more dirty, he added.

Zeman said five million crowns is the sum that late president Vaclav Havel and his wife received for a billboard that mocked the presidential couple and violated their personal rights.

He told TV Barrandov that the money would be used for his campaign and if the whole sum is not spent it would go to charity.

Zeman’s doctor Miloslav Kalas denied reports on Zeman’s bad health condition as fabricated and unfounded.

“I am still convinced that the public has the fundamental right to know the health condition of the supreme elected official, especially if it is apparent even to us, laymen, that he is not all right at all and he is not telling the truth about his health,” Bartik said.

Zeman made an impression of suffering from health troubles at a number of public events of late. He also lost weight apparently.

After announcing his candidacy in March, Zeman said he had undergone a medical check-up confirming he suffered from diabetes and polyfunctional neuropathy impairing the sensitivity of his feet. He added that his health condition was neither improving nor deteriorating.

He underwent a CT examination in September that did not reveal any new problem.

Zeman called the reports on his health troubles “a dirty campaign of some media.”

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