The lower house of Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill introducing criminal liability of firms, which would enable courts to fine them, seize their property or even abolish them for serious offences. Under the amendment the chamber of deputies extended the list of crimes for which business entities can be punished to around 80. The government proposed bill will still need to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president.
President Klaus has signed into law a bill which will introduce compulsory treatment orders for serious juvenile offenders. The law will enable the authorities to order compulsory treatment for juvenile offenders of violent crimes such as rape and murder and monitor their development for an indefinite period of time. The law was approved by Parliament under pressure of public opinion following the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl by her schoolmate. Under the present system juvenile offenders have a clean criminal record and in the event of a sexual deviation the authorities have no way of making them undergo treatment after they have served time in a correctional institution or prison for juveniles.
More anti-Roma demonstrations are to be held in the northern towns of Varnsdorf and Rumburk over the weekend. The citizens of Varnsdorf are moreover demanding the resignation of their mayor and the entire town council for having failed to deal with the crisis. The towns have been racked by ethnic unrest in the wake of an influx of Romanies, several incidents of racially motivated crime and a rise in petty theft. The locals are demanding that the town hall takes measures to restore law and order in the streets and some are even calling for an eviction of the newly-arrived members of the Roma minority. Extremist groups have been riding on the wave of anti-Romany sentiment, organizing demonstrations and protest marches every weekend.
In a related development the lower house on Tuesday approved in its first reading a bill which would allow local authorities to evict people for repeated offenses and misdemeanours –such as prostitution, drinking and begging in public places. People who repeatedly create a disturbance in public could be evicted for a period of three months. According to the author of the draft bill deputy Ivana Řápková this is the only form of punishment which might prove effective because it is impossible to force these repeat offenders to pay fines. Some deputies have strongly criticized the bill, with Aleš Radl of the Civic Democratic Party saying it was characteristic of the 19th century mentality.
The police was called to an incident at the Office of the Government on Tuesday when a man climbed half-way up the facade of the building and refused to come down. The police called in a fire-crew and psychologist but refrained from using force for fear that the man might hurt himself on the wrought iron railing below. He was eventually persuaded to come down of his own free will. It later emerged that the man was a notorious complainer who wanted to attract attention to his case. The breach of security is being investigated.
Interior Minister Jan Kubice on Tuesday briefed Parliament on the outcome of an investigation relating to a breach of security at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport last month. In order to test security at the airport a journalist from Aktualne.cz got himself hired as an airport guard and smuggled several banned items past clearance, including a knife, a fake bomb and a pepper spray. The interior minister said this was due to the negligence of an employee whose job it was to check all employees entering the airport. Mr. Kubice said no systematic mistakes had been revealed. He said security had been reinforced and promised that the security measures would be revised if they failed a second time.
Czech dramatist and scriptwriter Jiří Hubač has died at 82. Mr. Hubač spent much of his life working for Czech Television from which he was dismissed in 1974 for political reasons. In later years he established himself as a successful free-lance writer. He is best known for his plays Unripe Raspberries (adapted for the theatre as The Good Old Band), The Fall of Icarus and Migrant Birds. Hubač authored a number of popular television series including Three Blokes in a Cottage and Eliška and her Family, Good Water and Ambulance. He also wrote the script for the feature films Dance Teacher (1994) and Fanny (1995).
A bible with illustrations by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali has been published in the Czech Republic and a copy is to cost almost 77,000 crowns. The first copies will be given as gifts to Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka and President Vaclav Klaus. The 900-page Bible, weighing 12 kilos, has been published in 444 copies. Archbishop Duka will receive the first copy of the new Bible during a mass in Stara Boleslav, central Bohemia, on September 28, the country’s national holiday.
Jiří Kajínek, called the country’s most famous prisoner, continues to seek a retrial in the case that left him with a life sentence for two planned murders and one attempted murder. The daily Právo reports that Kajínek filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court this week against judges in Plzeň and Prague who rejected his second petition for a retrial. The complaint reads that he did not receive a fair trial, arguing primarily that police investigators at the 1993 crime scene did not dust for fingerprints. Jiří Kajínek has maintained his innocence in the double murder since the beginning and escaped from prison on three occasions. He was recently the subject of a major film that renewed questions around his guilt.
The controversial Czech artist Roman Týc, from the Ztohoven group, is due to open an exhibition of pictures created from the ashes of deceased persons at the Dvorak Sec Contemporary Gallery in Prague on Tuesday evening. Challenged about abusing human remains the artist said there was a surplus of unwanted human ashes in crematoriums which ended up on dump heaps. He told the CTK news agency that with his Grave Robber exhibition he wanted to spark debate on the sick way present day society deals with death.
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