Head of Military Research Institute sacked

Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová has dismissed the director of the Military Research Institute Bohuslav Šafář.

The minister gave no reason for the dismissal, but she announced the decision shortly after Prime Minister Babiš publicly criticized him in connection with a statement that may have led to the confusion as to whether the Czech Republic had ever produced a nerve agent of the Novichok family.

Shortly after the Novichok scandal broke Mr. Šafář told the ctk news agency that poisonous substances were produced by his institute in a minute amount for laboratory purposes.

President Zeman cited his words when claiming that the nerve agent Novichok had been produced and tested in the Czech Republic.

The country’s intelligence services later issued a statement saying that the Czech Republic had never developed, produced or stored the said nerve gas.

Šafář has refused to comment on his dismissal.