Svoboda for anti-terror law as Spain mourns victims of Madrid attacks

State memorial service, photo: CTK

Newspapers around the world on Thursday carried photographs of people grieving at a service in the Spanish capital Madrid for the victims of a terrorist attack there two weeks ago. The state memorial service was attended by several European leaders, among them the Czech prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, who told Radio Prague why he had gone to Madrid.

State memorial service,  photo: CTK
"To me it's very important, because it was a terrible attack which caused great human suffering. I want to show the people of Spain the participation and support of the Czech Republic."

The Madrid massacre has put the issue of terrorism on the agenda around the continent. The Czech Republic currently has no anti-terrorism legislation, though that situation is set to change in the next few months, according to senior government figures. On the plane to the Madrid service, Radio Prague's Alexei Rosenzweig asked the country's foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, whether the Czech Republic really needed an anti-terrorism law.

"My answer is clear - yes. We need a new piece of legislation dealing with the special protection against terrorism. And the law is to authorise the state to take some decisions on some restrictions. Just for one reason - to protect the security of Czech citizens on the territory of the Czech Republic and also outside the Czech Republic."

However, the Czech Republic already has laws against many activities which would fall under the category of terrorism. Why - in that case - is there a need for a special new law?

"The legal environment we have got is good, it's well functioning, but not for such a dangerous phenomenon as terrorist attacks. So if there are some terrorist attacks we need to be more flexible in protecting Czech citizens."