Former Communist Party MP cleared of torture charges

Former MP Josef Vondruška has been cleared of charges that he tortured political prisoners under the country's former communist regime, justice authorities have said. A court in the north-western city of Liberec on Thursday found Mr Vondruška, 63, not guilty due to lack of direct evidence. Before Prague's communist regime collapsed in 1989, Mr Vondruška worked as a prison guard. He was accused by former detainees of having carried out particularly brutal beatings of political dissidents. The court ruled, however, that prosecutors had only presented indirect evidence of Vondruška's alleged crimes The prosecution immediately appealed the verdict. Mr Vondruška served as a lawmaker from 2002 to 2010; his parliamentary immunity was lifted in 2007 to allow him to stand trial.

Author: Jan Velinger