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Pavel Burian

Yesterday Politics

Zeman pardons murderer

A man pardoned by President Milos Zeman last week was convicted of murder in the early 1990s. He has seven other entries in the criminal record, including embezzlement or endangering young people’s moral education. He was currently serving another 660 days in prison for robbery in which he threatened the saleswoman with a needle from an umbrella. The castle justified the grace with the man’s unfavorable health condition.

At Zeman’s eighteenth pardon, his spokesman said last week that the president had taken the move despite the man committing a serious violent crime 30 years ago. The minister’s note states without further details that it was a murder committed by a public official. The Prague City Court sent a man to jail for 13 years for this act and theft and fraud. After nine years, the man was released from prison on parole, behaving properly during the probationary period.

Before 1989, the judiciary found a man guilty five times, for the first time in 1982, for participation. Followed by unauthorized use of another’s property, threats to the moral education of the youth, subsistence and embezzlement, as well as arbitrary separation from the military.

The man committed the robbery and dangerous threats involved in Zeman’s mercy in April 2015. He entered a store in the subway lobby, pressed the tip of a thirty-centimeter needle to his side, and demanded money. The woman refused to give them to him. As he left the store, he threatened her, “I’ll come back and stab you anyway.”

The District Court for Prague 7 punished him for this with a three-year condition with a five-year probationary period and under the supervision of a probation officer, as well as a five-year ban on staying in the capital. However, the court subsequently converted the condition into an unconditional sentence. The man was not subject to supervision during the probationary period and was sentenced to a total sentence in Liberec due to theft.

The man was initially supposed to leave the prison last September, but the courts repeatedly suspended his sentences due to poor health. Therefore, he had 22 months left to perform. He sent the pardon application to the Ministry of Justice himself in January this year. He wrote in it that he was facing a critical operation and several other interventions.

A medical report from his prison confirmed that the man had cancer in the swallowing tract. Doctors had recently found other foci in his lungs, and pulmonary tuberculosis could not be ruled out. Besides, he suffers from several chronic diseases, including asthma and jaundice. The prison called the disease severity and the prognosis uncertain.

Zeman said before the 2013 presidential election that he would pardon only in a strictly limited range of humanitarian cases. As a condition, he stipulated that the offender must not be responsible for a serious crime and have serious health problems and secured family background.

The most controversial grace of Zeman remains the pardon of the life-sentenced double murderer Jiří Kajínek. Several other pardoners also did not meet the set conditions. For example, the president pardoned a man punished for attempting grievous bodily harm and rioting that saved a drowning woman’s life. Even the mother of five children, who, according to Zeman, takes good care of her offspring, did not meet a severe health condition.