Prague court acquits ex-StB worker of harassing Charter 77 signatories


The Prague 4 District Court has acquitted former Communist-era secret police (StB) official Václav Novotný of harassing two Charter 77 signatories as part of operation ‘Prevention’. The verdict is not final and an appeal is likely.

Mr Novotný, who acknowledges having worked for the StB but denies the charges, has been accused of arranging in 1978 for two dissidents to lose their disability pensions, as part of the secret operation.

The Charter 77 signatories in question were former television editor Otta Bednářová and the wife of another journalist, Jiřina Kynclová.

Hundreds of opponents of the communist regime in Prague and the Central Bohemia were targeted in operation ‘Prevention’, which aimed to complicate their lives at work and at home.

In some cases, StB workers arranged for dissidents to be stripped of their pensions, have their driving licenses revoked or telephone lines disconnected. Many were sacked or demoted at work.