Two former Stb agents charged with murder from 1957

Sixteen years after the fall of the communism, the crimes of the totalitarian regime are still coming to light. On Wednesday, two former agents of the communist intelligence services were charged with murder dating almost 50 years back. In 1957, the wife of a French official was killed after she opened a parcel bomb intended for her husband. Now the two face jail terms of up to 15 years.

Two former communist secret agents, Milan Michel and Stanislav Tomes, are now old age pensioners in their late 70s. They are the only living members of a group alleged to have carried out an attack in 1957 which left the wife of a French official dead.

"After the Interior Minister Rudolf Barak came into office at the beginning of the 1950s, the communist intelligence service radically boosted its activities. Its personnel multiplied several times and that's when violent acts started, kidnaps and assassinations, including 'Operation Kampfverband'."

Historian and former researcher from the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, Radek Schovanek.

A third employee of the secret service was instructed to assemble an explosive device. The parcel was transported to France in April 1957 and posted. On the 14th of May, 1957, the secretary of the prefect of the French city of Strasbourg, Andre Tremaud, found a cigar box in the mail.

"Two secret agents resident in Paris sent a parcel with cigars to the address of the Strasbourg prefecture. But it was not the prefect who opened it. The person who unwrapped the parcel two days later was his wife Henriette. The disguised explosive killed her."

The French authorities started investigating and found out that clues led beyond the Iron Curtain. But it was not until 1996 - four decades later - that the Czech authorities started looking into the case. Radek Schovanek again.

The two indicted men have refused to talk but former agents and historians agree that the terrorist act, coordinated with the Soviet KGB, was meant to destabilise the still frail relations between France and Germany. Posing as a product of alleged German neo-Nazi groups, the parcel bomb was meant to be delivered to Andre Tremaud at a meeting of the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor of today's European Union.