Priest and dissident rehabilitated after 30 years

3-4 2008 Aktuality English
obálka čísla

Brno - Only constitutional judges finally stood up for the evangelical priest and former Brno dissident Jan Šimša, who was punished for assault on a communist State Security (StB) officer during a home search in 1978.

After the fall of the communist regime, Šimša fruitlessly pursued rehabilitation and didn´t even succeed at the Supreme Court. They stated that the communist judiciary had proceeded correctly in Šimša´s case.

Today, however, constitutional judges stood up for the priest and acknowledged his complaint. Šimša was, according to the judges, punished for political reasons and therefore should be now completely rehabilitated.

Injustice done

Jan Šimša has earlier called the 30 years old verdict unjust serving the communist ideology. He was sentenced for assault on a public servant one year after having signed the Charter 77 which called on the communist governement to observe human rights.

Šimša has recently said that in the whole process, he counted 11 cases of violating the law. "The home search itself was illegal," said Šimša.

In 1978, Šimsa´s home was searched. One of StB officers came upon a personal letter from philosopher Jan Patočka. For the family, the letter was a precious memory of the deceased philosopher.

Jan Patočka was one of the most influential central European philosophers in the 20th century. Being a signatory of the Charter 77 document, he was permanently interrogated by police.

Patočka is said to have died prematurely due to the exhaustion after lengthy interrogations from the StB police.

StB had the legal right to read through personal letters but not to seize them. Yet one of the officers decided to take away the letter, which resulted in the jostling.

Jostling with StB

According to Šimsa´s memories, the StB secret police tried to twist the letter from his son´s hand and then assaulted his wife. Šimsa therefore pushed one of the officers with his whole body and the man fell down on the bed. Nothing happened to him.

Last year, however, the Supreme Court turned down the complaint about violating of the law, which had been filed in Šimsa ´s favour by Minister of Justice, Jiří Pospíšil.

The Supreme Court stated that the communist judiciary had proceeded correctly in this case.

According to the Supreme Court, the City Court in Brno and then also the Regional Court carefully examined the evidence and evaluated it objectively, despite the political situation at the time.

Tomáš Fránek

Vydavatelem Českého dialogu je Mezinárodní český klub

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