Police arrested three Turkish nationals traveling on Prague's ring
road for allegedly trying to smuggle 22 people from Iraq, Syria and Turkey
into Germany; the group was found hidden in the back of their van. The
suspects are believed to have smuggled some 100 people or so across the
border in the past.
The news was confirmed on Friday by the spokesman for the National Centre Against Organized Crime Jaroslav Ibehej. If found guilty, the trio could face up to eight years in jail.
For around 40 years, so-called Victorious February was sacred for the Czechoslovak communist regime. The period from around February 17 and culminating on February 25 marked the party’s seizure of power when leader Klement Gottwald was finally named as prime minister of a communist dominated government.
On February 25, 1948, the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia, marking the onset of four decades of hard-line, authoritarian rule. The Communist takeover was enabled by the party’s election success in 1946 and the resignation of the government’s remaining democratic ministers in February of 1948. President Edvard Beneš’ decision to confirm the Communists in power rather than dissolve the government and call new elections sealed the country’s fate for decades to come.
International human rights agency Amnesty International has criticized the
position taken by Czech politicians on refugees and immigrants.
In its latest report on human rights, Amnesty said politicians, including the president and minister of interior, made xenophobic remarks last year.
The report also criticised the country for the unequal access of Roma to education and the long running failure to buy out a pig farm at the site of a WWII Roma camp used by the Nazis. An agreement to buy out the farm has since been signed.
Former interior minister Milan Chovanec said the Czech position saved the country from the biggest waves of immigrants. The president’s spokesman denounced the report as insignificant nonsense.
The Czech Interior Ministry has granted asylum to eight Chinese Christians seeking protection in the country on the grounds of religious persecution. The requests of seventy other applicants were rejected. A lawyer representing the group of Chinese Christians has said she will advise them to appeal the decision.
Czech police on Friday stopped two lorries carrying 35 foreigners,
including 13 children, on the D5 motorway heading towards the main western
border crossing with Germany at Rozvadov. According to police spokeswoman
Veronika Horková, the lorries came from Romania through Hungary and
The migrants, who most likely come from Eastern Europe, were placed in a detention centre and will be questioned to determine whether they have asked for asylum anywhere in Europe. The drivers of the lorries have also been detained on suspicion of people smuggling.
Klára Skřivánková is UK and Europe Programme Manager for Anti-Slavery International, which describes itself as the world’s oldest human rights organisation. Skřivánková is an expert on human trafficking and frequently gives court testimony in modern slavery cases. When we spoke at Anti-Slavery’s offices in London, the conversation took in various forms of modern slavery, what can be done to combat it and what companies should do if they discover forced labour in their supply chains.
The Czech Republic has been described as a flawed democracy in the
Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest Democracy Index.
The country was placed 34th in a list of 167 countries in the survey whose performance for 2017 was rated. It’s score fell to 7.62 points from 7.82 points in 2016, its worst place in a decade. The overall fall for countries in Central Europe was highlighted.
The report is subtitled – Freedom of Speech in danger. It coincides with a row at public service broadcaster Czech Radio in which the station’s general director has objected to aspects of a report by station journalists which revealed how prime minister’s Andrej Babiš’ Agrofert company gained subsidies for farming land it did not own.
Warnings of increased pressure on public service media have also accompanied the re-election of president Miloš Zeman.
Demonstrations held in 11 cities over election of Communist MP Ondráček to chairman post
National Museum discovers fake gems in its collection
Czech Republic caught up in plastic waste disposal crisis in Europe
David Whiteman: the forgotten Czech story of the man who triggered World War I
President Zeman’s Chinese advisor arrested