International police cooperation agency Interpol has rejected a request for an international arrest warrant to be served on a Czech Member of the European Parliament. Interpol refused the request for MEP Jaromír Štětina following a request from authorities in Azerbaijan. The move followed a visit by the MEP to the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in February during which Štětina denounced moves being made by authorities in Azerbaijan. They said his comments helped fuel tension in the region disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Czech said the demand for an arrest warrant was aimed at scaring off international experts and commentators against speaking out against the Baku government.
Turkey has slammed a resolution adopted by the lower house of the Czech parliament recognizing the Armenian genocide. The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide as well as the genocide of other religious and national minorities in the Ottoman Empire during WWI. The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday also criticised President Miloš Zeman for his letter addressed to the Armenian diaspora in this country with regard to the events of 1915, claiming that the letter included serious inconsistencies.
Azerbaijan has issued an international arrest warrant for the Czech Member of the European Parliament Jaroslav Štětina, the news website Blesk.cz reported. Mr. Štětina wrote on Facebook that he and two other MEPs were wanted by the Azerbaijani authorities after serving as referendum observers in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh earlier this week. According to Blesk.cz, the website kavkasia.net quoted the Azerbaijan prosecutor’s office as saying the three had repeatedly entered occupied territory in the country illegally.
President Miloš Zeman on a visit to Armenia has suggested that the Czech parliament pass a motion over the 1915 massacres of Armenians by the then Ottoman Empire and describe them as genocide. Zeman made the comments during a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargyan. The Czech president added that he had referred to the massacres during WWI as genocide twice earlier. One of the occasions was during the visit by the Armenian president to Prague in 2014. The comments were then officially described as Zeman’s personal opinion. Last week the German parliament passed a motion describing the Armenian massacres as genocide, a move which prompted Ankara to recall its ambassador.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is set to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan on a visit to Armenia next week, according to a working version of his programme released by his office. The Czech Republic has not recognised the killing of more than a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as genocide, unlike a number of other European states, most recently Germany. However, Mr. Zeman did use the term genocide during a visit to Prague by his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in 2014; his office said the Czech president was expressing his personal opinion.
By attending a rally organised by Bloc against Islam in Prague on Tuesday on the occasion of November 17, President Miloš Zeman had distanced himself from democratic values, a group of five Czech EU deputies wrote in a letter addressed to the Czech head of state. The deputies, including Michaela Šojdrová of the Christian Democratic Party and Jaromír Štětina for TOP 09, criticize the Czech president for supporting the initiative Block against Islam, which they call a fascist-style movement. President’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček has rejected the criticism, arguing that the deputies are merely attempting to attract media’s attention.
Moscow has released a blacklist of EU politicans and diplomats, including four Czechs, who are banned from entering Russia in response to EU sanctions over Ukraine, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. The list contains 89 names. The Czechs who are no logner allowed to travel to Russia are the head of TOP 09 and former Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, TOP 09 deputy Marek Ženíšek, EU deputy Jaromír Štětina and former EU commissioner Štefan Füle.
Senator for the TOP 09 party Jaromír Štětina has suggested that officials at the Interior Ministry betrayed the government when they failed to prepare a proposal to ban the Communist Party. In a statement on Monday, Mr Štětina recommended that the government use a proposal drafted by a Senate commission set up to assess whether the existence of the Communist Party was in line with the Czech Republic’s constitution. The situation was also criticized by Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra on Sunday. The Interior Ministry was asked by the government to prepare the groundwork for a constitutional lawsuit against the party. The ministry however says it was unable to acquire sufficient material, even with the aid of experts and the intelligence services.
Senator Jaromír Štětina claims he is receiving threats from members of the country’s intelligence service BIS over secret documents in his ownership which allegedly prove illegal undercover deals between agents and state attorneys. In a statement for the CTK news agency the senator says he has received a number of threatening messages and that the driver of a black Octavia recently tried to force him off the road. The senator had previously accused the country’s intelligence services of seeking to destroy his good reputation by claiming that he cooperated with the communist secret service. The intelligence service has sharply rejected the accusations.
Two former foreign employees of the Prague-based, US broadcaster RFE/RL are fighting a legal battle against their former employer, accusing the radio station of discrimination. The argument is related to their contracts with the radio station, and the way the Croatian and Armenian nationals were fired. They claim that they and hundreds of other RFE Prague-based employees from non EU countries find themselves in a legal vacuum. But it seems that they fell into a gap in the system – which in the meantime has been fixed.