Main suspects in ‘Methanol Affair’ to remain behind bars
The district court in Zlín on Monday extended an earlier decision remanding three main suspects in the ‘Methanol Affair’ in custody. Two of the men - Rudolf Fian and accomplice Tomáš Křepela – are suspected of having concocted the deadly mix of enthanol and methyl alcohol that led to an outbreak of poisioning across the Czech Republic in mid-September. The third man, Jiří Vacula, was allegedly involved in passing the tainted product on to other distributors. The Zlín state prosecutor explained that if the suspects were released there was danger they could try and evade justice. The trio face between 12 to 20 years behind bars if found guilty. Thirty-eight people died of poisoning after the outbreak; the authorities have issued warnings ahead of the holiday season asking consumers not to drink any hard liquor of unknown origin ie. not containing new excise stamps. It is thought that some 5,000 litres of poisoned alcohol may still be in circulation on store shelves or in households.