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Politicians assess Rath’s trial, sentence differently

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Prague, July 23 (CTK) – Some Czech politicians consider the prison sentence given to former Social Democrat (CSSD) regional governor, MP and ex-minister David Rath for corruption adequate, while others speak about the failure of the whole CSSD and assess the Rath trial as a farce.
Some politicians also assess Rath’s personality, pointing out his negative influence on political culture in the country.
The Regional Court in Prague yesterday sentenced Rath, 49, CSSD lawmaker (2006-2012), the Central Bohemia governor (2008-2012) and health minister (2005-2006), to 8.5 years in prison and the forfeiture of property worth some 20 million crowns for corruption connected with public orders in the Central Bohemia Region yesterday. He said would appeal the verdict.
Deputy PM and Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO chairman) said he had entered politics due to such people as Rath “with boxes full of money.” He hinted at the fact that Rath was caught red-handed with seven million crowns, a suspected bribe, in a wine box in May 2012 and arrested.
Babis wrote to CTK that Rath “is one of the symbols of traditional parties.”
He ruled out that a similar case could happen in his ANO, saying “not to lie and steal” is a basic programme of his movement.
“I respect the decision of an independent court,” Deputy PM and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek said in reaction to the verdict in the Rath case.
Jiri Pospisil, MEP for TOP 09, writes on Twitter that he considers the sentence for Rath adequate in view of the sentences given to the other defendants in the case.
Opposition TOP 09 deputy chairwoman Helena Langsadlova criticised the CSSD, now the senior government party, on this occasion. “It is alarming that Rath’s closest aides in the regional council are still managing the Central Bohemia Region,” she said.
Opposition Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala wrote to CTK that the court’s verdict in the Rath case need not be commented, but it must be respected.
“As a politician, David Rath assisted in worsening political culture and atmosphere in our country,” Fiala said.
ANO deputy group chairman Jaroslav Faltynek also considers the sentence given to Rath adequate. Politicians who commit corruption must be treated as strictly as possible, he added.
Dawn deputy group chairman Marek Cernoch has been the most critical of the Rath trial, calling it “a farce.” He said it would last for years until the case is completed.
According to the length of the proceedings and criminal acts, this is not an individual failure, but a failure of the whole CSSD that apparently profited from these activities on the regional or national level, Cernoch said.
($1=24.827 crowns)

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