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Presidential Office appeals verdict in Zeman’s Peroutka dispute

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Prague, April 19 (CTK) – The Presidential Office appealed on Monday against the court ruling according to which President Milos Zeman must apologise for his words to the detriment of prominent Czech journalist Ferdinad Peroutka (1895-1978), presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK on Tuesday.

He said previously the matter may end up with the Constitutional Court (US).

The Presidential Office has been in dispute with Peroutka’s granddaughter because of his speech he made at a conference marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in January 2015.

At the conference, Zeman spoke about the failure of intellectuals in the period of rising Nazism. He said Peroutka wrote an article “Hitler is a Gentleman” for the prestigious Pritomnost (Present) magazine.

Peroutka was a prominent democratic journalist during the interwar period. He was imprisoned by the Nazi regime in 1939-1945. He left the country after the 1948 communist coup and later worked for Radio Free Europe. He died in the United States.

Zeman also said Peroutka said “If one cannot sing with the angels, one must howl with the wolves.” However, the author of this statement was lawmaker and journalist Jan Stransky (1913-1988), historians said.

Zeman has not apologised and he insists on that he read Peroutka’s article.

Peroutka’s grand-daughter Terezie Kaslova has filed a complaint against the state, specifically against the Presidential Office.

In early March, the court issued a verdict that the Presidential Office must apologise to her, but it is not yet valid. The judge justified the verdict saying that the Presidential Office has not submitted anything proving the truthfulness of Zeman’s statements.

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