Former dissident Jaroslav Šabata dies aged 84

Former dissident and government minister Jaroslav Šabata died in Brno after a long illness in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 84. Jaroslav Šabata, who was born in the south Moravian village of Dolenice in 1927, joined the communist party after WWII, and was a prominent figure of the Prague Spring. He left the party in 1969 and founded a group called Communists in Opposition. In 1977, he signed the human rights manifesto Charter 77 and served as one of its spokespersons between 1978 and 1981. He was jailed twice for his political activities by the communist authorities; in total he spent seven years in prison. After the fall of communism, Jaroslav Šabata became an MP and served as a government minister between 1990 and 1991.