Police launch prosecution of pre-1989 Communists over border shootings

The Czech police’s Office for the Documentation of the Crimes of Communism have initiated the prosecution of three senior figures from the pre-1989 Communist regime. One-time Communist Party general secretary Miloš Jakeš, former prime minister Lubomír Štrougal and ex-interior minister Vratislav Vajnar are accused of abuse of office in connection with the use of firearms on the borders of the then Czechoslovakia, a representative of the Prague 1 state attorney’s office, Jan Lelek, said on Tuesday.

The three top Communists were aware the border patrol service were using guns to shoot people crossing the border without authorisation but did nothing to stop them, Mr. Lelek said.

The Office for the Documentation of the Crimes of Communism said that because of the inaction of the three officials between 1976 and 1989 nine people were either shot dead or killed by dogs while attempting to cross the border into the West; at least seven others were injured.

Author: Ian Willoughby