Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) has described the
irregular granting of Czech visas to Iranian entrepreneurs as having
resulted from an “individual failing” on the part of the recently
recalled Czech ambassador to Iran.
The daily Deník N reported on Wednesday that the Czech Republic had recalled career diplomat Svatopluk Čumba from Tehran early following an investigation of fraudulent practices in granting Schengen visas to Iranians.
According to the daily, the scheme allegedly also involved the Czech-Slovak -Iranian Chamber of Commerce, led by Jan Kavan, a former Czech Foreign Minister, and Zdeněk Zbytek, a former officer in the Czechoslovak Army who led a tank battalion during the Velvet Revolution.
Amb. Čumba allegedly granted 400 priority visas to individuals recommended by Kavan and in doing so circumvented standard procedures for granting Schengen visas.
Petříček said he was prepared to provide full details to the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Parliament. The General Inspectorate of the Czech Foreign Ministry has been investigating the alleged practice.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly denounced Czech
President Miloš Zeman’s claims that Turkey was a de facto ally of the
Islamic State. The ministry’s spokesman said the statements are false and
insulting, both to the country and its president.
The Czech head of state said on Tuesday that despite seeking EU membership and being a NATO member, Turkey had served as a mediator in logistics operations for the Islamic State when it occupied parts of Syria and Iraq.
President Zeman also accused his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pursuing a policy of Islamizing his country.
Prague’s Muslim Community has distanced itself from statements made by
its new chairman, Leonid Kušnarenko. In a video posted on his Facebook
profile he offered to help members of the community to acquire firearms. He
made the offer in response to the recent terrorist attack on Muslims in New
Zealand’s Christchurch and a growing anti-Islamic mood in the Czech
The Prague Muslim Community said that any statements made by Mr. Kušnarenko expressed his views alone and did not represent the attitude of Muslims in the capital or elsewhere in the Czech Republic.
The regional court in Brno has rejected a complaint by the head of the
Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka regarding two theatre
plays staged in Brno in May of last year.
The plays Our Violence, Your Violence and The Curse, directed by Oliver Frljic from Croatia, included a scene in which Jesus rapes a Muslim woman, sparking protests from some of the locals who forced their way on stage and tried to stop the performance.
Cardinal Duka filed a lawsuit against the theatre on the grounds that the plays were an attack on his rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights such as the right to freedom of religion and the right to dignity and honour.
The judge said the scenes were allegorical and could not be seen as violating individuals' rights.
Prague’s venue Jatka 78 is set to stage a play by Iranian dramatist
Nassim Soleimanpour White Rabbit Red Rabbit. It was written by the author
while he was forbidden to leave his country for refusing military duty.
The play, which is to be performed each night by a different actor, takes the form a sealed letter and the seal is only broken once the actor steps onto the stage. It has become a huge success after its premiere in 2011 and has since been performed in more than 25 languages.
Among the actors to appear in the Czech staging of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is Martha Issová, Aňa Geislervoá and Petr Čtvrtníček. The premiere is scheduled to take place in the Jatka 78 venue in January.
A former Prague-based Islamic cleric, who faces charges of supporting
terrorism, has given up his right to lodge a complaint against his
detention and so will remain in custody pending a trial, along with two
Imam Samer Shehadeh could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges of supporting, promoting and financing terrorism. According to media reports, the other suspects are Shehadeh’s brother Omar and his brother’s wife.
The Czech intelligence services began investigating Imam Shehadeh in 2016. While in Prague, he had allegedly tried to radicalise Muslims and told them attending a Christian mass in a show of solidarity with people of different faiths would amount to a betrayal of Islam.
Recordings of Imam Shehadeh preaching elsewhere indicate that he was more radical than the Czech Muslim community, which expelled him, may have suspected at the time.
The Islamic cleric later briefly preached in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, from where he was also forced out. He was captured in Jordan and flown to the Czech Republic this week.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, has
filed a lawsuit over a pair of theatre plays staged in Brno in May, the
newspaper Lidové noviny reported on Thursday. The joint production of the
plays Our Violence, Your Violence and The Curse included a scene in which
Jesus rapes a Muslim woman as well as a depiction of Pope John Paul II in a
state of tumescence.
Protests also took place at the theatre itself during the plays, which were directed by Oliver Frljic from Croatia.
Cardinal Duka says that the theatre show represented an attack on his rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. He referred specifically to the inalienability of rights, freedom of religion and the right to dignity and honour. The prelate filed the lawsuit as a private individual.
A group of right-wing protestors who over the weekend disrupted a theatre performance of the controversial play by Croatian director Oliver Frljić have filed a criminal complaint against one of the lead actors as well as the director of the National Theatre in Brno for propagating religious intolerance and defamation of a state symbol. Two other complaints are also pending.
The Czech Republic has backed the EU’s decision to continue to respect the 2015 nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, after President Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw from the pact. However the Czech Foreign Ministry noted that the international community should not close its eyes to the dangers of Iran’s ballistic program.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Prague will continue to back an
international nuclear agreement with Iran, despite US President Donald
Trump’s announcement that the US will pull out of the deal. The Czech
Foreign Minister, Martin Stropnický, says the country does not wish to
split from the European Union’s regretful position on Mr. Trump’s move.
Mr. Stropnický said, however, that a statement on the matter from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini should have specified that Tehran was developing ballistic missiles. He said it was not possible to completely overlook the arguments of the US and Israel, who contend that Iran has breached the treaty.
The deal agreed under previous US president Barack Obama curbed Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions that had been imposed by the United Nations, the US and the EU.