Prague, Oct 25 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman will consider awarding Jiri Brady, whose alleged deletion from the list of those to be decorated on October 28 has aroused a dispute, on another suitable occasion, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told journalists yesterday.
Zeman is ready to do so as a goodwill gesture, Ovcacek said, adding that it is impossible to enforce a state award with a campaign.
Brady’s wife, however, said Brady does not want the award from Zeman in the current situation.
A few days ago, Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) accused Zeman of having said he would bestow a state award, the Order of T.G. Masaryk, on Brady on October 28 if Herman refrained from meeting the Tibetan Dalai Lama during his visit to Prague.
After Herman met the Dalai Lama on October 18, the Presidential Office decided to not decorate Brady, a Holocaust survivor who is Herman’s relative.
The Presidential Office has denied the accusation.
A number of leading Czech politicians have called on Zeman to decorate Brady. Some of them are considering not to attend the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle due to the Brady affair.
Ovcacek said Zeman is ready to consider awarding Brady “on a suitable occasion.”
He indicated that it may happen on one of the next days designed for state decorations, which is January 1 and October 28, the anniversaries of the birth of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia, respectively.
Since Brady has Canadian citizenship, he may also be given the award on other days. This year’s list of those to be awarded has already been closed, Ovcacek said.
Zeman is yet to consider awarding Brady, he emphasised.
It ensued from his words that Brady will not be decorated on Friday.
Repeating Brady’s statement from Monday, his wife Tereza said he no longer wants to be awarded by Zeman, in view of the current situation.
Asked whether Brady would change his mind if he were offered the Order of the White Lion, which is the highest state award, Tereza Bradyova said “any award from those who originally were to bestow the T. G. Masaryk Order on Brady is out of the question.”
Also present at the press conference, the Presidential Office’s protocol department chief Jindrich Forejt dismissed the information that Zeman has deleted Brady’s name from the list of those to be awarded.
Forejt refused to say whether he had phoned Brady. He said he cannot comment on the list of those awarded before the October 28 ceremony.
Forejt repeated that when informing the chosen persons about their forthcoming decoration, he never specifies what award they will be given. Each of them receives information about the planned award in writing enough in advance.
The Brady couple assert that Forejt phoned them to inform them about the award and tell details about the organisation of the ceremony.
Herman says Zeman set the cancellation of his meeting with the Dalai Lama as a condition for awarding Brady. He says Zeman did so at a party hosted by the Slovak embassy on September 8, and that Czech ministers Dan Tok and Jan Mladek witnessed the scene, as did Slovak ambassador Peter Weiss.
None of the three has confirmed having heard such a debate between Zeman and Herman. They said they either did not pay attention to the debate or did not hear the two mention the issue in question.
Ovcacek said their reactions refute Herman’s words.