Prague, May 14 (CTK) – Some 54 percent of Czechs agree with President Milos Zeman’s decision to pardon Jiri Kajinek, 56, who is serving a life sentence for a double contract murder, according to a poll conducted by the Median institute and released on Sunday.

The decision is rejected by 36 percent of Czechs.

Two-fifths of Czechs are of the view that Zeman had taken the step in order to bolster his popularity.

Some 29 percent of Czechs say Zeman wants to divert attention from his attitude to the current government crisis.

Earlier this week, Zeman said he would pardon Kajinek in the second half of May after he returns from China.

Before the 2013 presidential election, Zeman pledged not to grant any pardons except for some strictly defined humanitarian cases.

So far, Zeman has granted seven pardons.

People with higher education, residents of big towns and those generally critical of Zeman tend to disagree with Zeman’s plan.

The poll was conducted on a sample of 700 Czechs.

A court in Plzen, west Bohemia, sentenced Kajinek to life in June 1998. He was convicted of shooting a businessman and his bodyguard dead in Plzen in 1993. Another bodyguard survived the attack.

A businessman hired Kajinek as a contract killer.

Kajinek is probably the best-known Czech prisoner. He also gained fame by his spectacular escape from Mirov, the country’s toughest-security prison in north Moravia, in 2000. The police caught him after about six weeks at large.

The cause celebre prompted film-makers to shoot a thriller also called Kajinek that was finished in 2010.

Kajinek pleads innocent and demands that his trial be reopened. All his previous efforts to this effect have been rejected.

Zeman said on Sunday he insisted on his decision. “Every rule has its exceptions,” Zeman said.

He said he had decided so as he was guided by the principle “in dubio pro reo” (when in doubt, for the accused).