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Appeal against exoneration of Communist over Horáková, 1968 comments rejected

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Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – The Czech Communist Party (KSCM) and its MP Marta Semelova need not apologise for her statements about the judicial murder of democratic politician Milada Horakova and the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Prague Municipal Court definitely decided yesterday.
The court rejected an appeal filed by lawyer Michal Kincl (TOP 09) who demanded an apology, arguing that as a citizen he was shocked by Semelova’s words.
The appeals court panel ruled that Semelova’s statements had not infringed on Kincl’s personality rights since they did not concern his person, judge Tomas Novosad said.
Kincl’s defence counsel told reporters after the proceedings that he would recommend to his client to file a petition for an appellate review with the Supreme Court.
Kincl demanded a written apology clearly stating that the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, which crushed the communist-led reform movement, was an occupation and that the totalitarian communist regime (1948-89) persecuted many people.
However, the appeals court did not accept his argumentation and agreed with the lower-level court’s verdict.
Two years ago, Semelova, as a quest to a public Czech TV programme, expressed doubts about Horakova’s confession in the show trial being enforced.
Horakova (1901-1950), a lawyer by profession, was sentenced to death on the basis of fabricated charges of treason and espionage by the communist regime and executed on June 27, 1950. She was the only woman put to death in the country for political reasons.
Semelova also said on TV the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was no occupation, but international help, and that communist top official Vasil Bilak, one of the signatories of the letter inviting the Warsaw Pact troops to the country, was a positive figure in Czechoslovak history.
The KSCM says the legal complaint against Semelova’s words was expedient since local politician Kincl, an assemblyman in Brno-Bohunice, used it in his election campaign.
Semelova insists on her opinions. She pointed to the freedom of speech in this dispute.
District court judge Pavel Freibert ruled in January that Kincl cannot demand this way that Semelova state what she does not think. At the same time, he called the fears of the communist ideology “healthy.”
According to a review of Freibert’s verdict before the appeals court, Semelova’s statements might infringe on the personality rights of Horakova’s offspring, for instance.

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