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Srp wants PM to prove his collaboration with StB

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Prague, Aug 17 (CTK) – Karel Srp, founder and long-term head of the dissident Jazz Section, demands that Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka prove his contacts with the former communist secret police (StB) due to which he did not appoint him an ethical commission member, Srp told reporters on Thursday.

He added that otherwise, he would sue Sobotka.

Founded by Srp during the communist era, the Jazz Section assisted in publishing books and other materials, including banned ones.

Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) refused to co-sign the proposal of President Milos Zeman for appointing Srp, 80, a member of the ethical commission to honour anti-communist resistance in January. He argued with Srp’s collaboration with the StB.

Srp also criticised the Wednesday decision by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, not to vote on Zeman’s proposal for Srb joining the Board of the Czech Institute of the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR), due to his membership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC).

Sobotka said Srp had provided information for the StB in 1979-1982. “I am aware that Srp did a lot of good for the independent culture, but unfortunately, he also did many bad things, being a long-term informer of the StB,” Sobotka said in January.

Srp said on Thursday he had been waiting for Sobotka to prove his statements in writing for six months. “I urged this last Friday. If he does not submit a written document to prove his words, I will bring a lawsuit against citizen Sobotka,” Srp said.

In its decision-making on Srp’s nomination for the USTR board, the Senate took into account the position of its electoral commission. It has found out that Srp was a communist party member before the 1989 fall of the communist regime and thereby fails to meet the legal condition of reliability.

This si why the upper house did not vote on his nomination.

In spite of his declaration of honour, Srp said he cannot remember his KSC membership.

Srp said yesterday it was nonsense to apply the conditions to the Communists from the era of Prague Spring of 1968, the Communist-led reform movement.

“This law as well as the whole lustration law are nonsense. It is only used for settling old scores,” Srb added.

The lustration law, passed in the early 1990s, bans former Czechoslovak Communist functionaries, former StB state police collaborators and members of the communist People Militia’s paramilitary units from high civil service posts.

Srp sharply criticised the senators who had assessed his nomination in the electoral commission.

Srp was the second candidate Zeman nominated to the USTR board this year. The previous one, writer Lenka Prochazkova, met all requirements, but the Senate did not elect her in April.

She supported Srp at the press conference on Thursday.

Prochazkova’s nomination triggered a stormy reaction by the USTR trade union. In an open letter, its representatives said she approached history of the country from the ideological point of view and used a propaganda and demagogic style.

Prochazkova dismissed this.

Srp said senators had rejected both nominees because of their aversion to Zeman.

Srp’s name, however, figures in the unofficial “Cibulka lists” of StB collaborators. In 2000, a Prague court decided that the StB registered Srp as its collaborator unrightfully and that the Interior Ministry failed to prove any such collaboration on his part.

President Zeman bestowed a Medal of Merit on Srp in 2013.

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