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Constitutional Court orders court to reopen case over Mašín family farm

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Brno, Sept 30 (CTK) – The Czech Constitutional Court (US) met a complaint filed by Zdena Masinova, sister of anti-communist resistance fighters, who claims the return of their family farmstead in Losany, central Bohemia, and returned the case to a lower-level court for reappraisal yesterday.
The district court must deal with the case again since it made mistakes and proceeded in a too formal way. It did not inform Masinova that she must coordinate her steps with other heirs, that is her brothers, and rejected her complaint directly, US ruled.
The state now owns six-eighth of the real estate, while the rest belongs to Masinova.
The US points out the exceptional character of the dispute, saying that the father of Zdena Masinova and her brothers Ctirad and Josef, was one the most respected heroes of the country.
The father, Josef Masin (1896-1942), a Czechoslovak army officer and member of the underground resistance group during WWII, was executed by the Nazis.
The US judges said the state should seek such a solution to the ownership relations so that his native house could become a dignified heritage sight. The family can secure it better than the state, they added.
“This is an unexpected satisfaction for me,” Masinova told reporters, commenting on the US’s verdict.
The family has some plans with the farmstead, she said without elaborating.
However, the court dispute remains open after yesterday’s verdict.
The Masin family lived in the farmstead for centuries.
In 1940, Josef Masin signed the real estate over to his three children, who were underage then. It was confiscated by the state after the communists seized power in 1948.
Following the 1989 collapse of the communist regime, Masinova was returned two-eights of the farmstead, while the rest was kept in state hands, since her brothers did not return to the Czech Republic and stayed in the United States.
In 2012, Masinova filed a complaint with the district court in Kolin, central Bohemia. She asked for the abolition of the contract on the house’s transfer from her father to the children. He signed it in distress under the war circumstances to prevent the family from losing the property, she argued.
Consequently, the complaint would lead to new inheritance procedure, in which the family would gain the whole real estate.
The district court turned down the complaint since only one of the heirs, Masinova, asked for the determination of the property ownership. The appeals regional court and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict.
In her constitutional complaint, Masinova said her brothers had agreed with her complaint beforehand, but they would not like to participate in the court proceedings in the Czech Republic and that the district court should have asked her to submit their consent.
The brothers Ctirad (1930-2011) and Josef Masin (born 1932) and Milan Paumer (1931-2010) succeeded in fighting their way through from the communist Czechoslovakia to West Germany in the early 1950s. During their armed resistance and later escape to the West, they killed six people, namely two Czech policemen, three East German security force members and an armed guard transporting money.
The case is still highly controversial in the Czech society. Some label the Masins murderers, while others consider them heroes who deserve to be decorated.

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