Several hundred former political prisoners commemorated victims of Communism in the West Bohemian town of Jachymov on Saturday. In the 1950's, close to 50,000 people, who were believed to threaten the authority of the Communist regime, were put into over a dozen labour camps around Jachymov, where they were forced to work in local uranium mines. Some 2,000 prisoners did not survive the conditions. During the commemorative ceremony, which has traditionally been called Jachymov Hell, the head of the Czech Confederation of Political Prisoners, Nada Kavalirova, noted that most of those responsible have yet to be brought to justice.
The well-known Czech sculptor Pavel Opocensky, who is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for sexually abusing underage girls, was granted temporary release on Saturday to get married. The fifty-year old Mr Opocensky was wed to his long-time partner, the 23-year old Julia Bergmanova, at Cerveny Hradek Chateau. Mr Opocensky, who has to be back in prison on Sunday, is hoping to be released on parole in eleven months.
Some 37 personalities have put forward a petition calling for the release of Bohumil Kulinsky, the director of the prestigious Bambini di Praga girls choir, who has been charged with the sexual abuse of underage girls. Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper has reported that the petition signed by mostly artists, including the renowned Czech composer Ondrej Soukup, conducter Jiri Belohlavek, and singer Marta Kubisova, writes the accusations have put Mr Kulinsky's future artistic career at serious threat. State Attorney, Hana Andelova, told the paper that Mr Kulinsky cannot be released from custody as the chances that he would try and influence witnesses are high.
Bohumil Kulinsky, who denies the charges, is accused of sexually abusing over one hundred underage girls from the choir. The prestigious Bambini di Praga girls choir, made up of girls aged 12 to 19, performs nationally and internationally with leading Czech and foreign orchestras.
Some 150 of the country's finest music and theatre ensembles are performing at the Mezi Ploty, or Between Fences, cultural festival at Prague's Bohnice psychiatric hospital this week-end. Mezi Ploty is open to the public, with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction. The festival is organised every year and has always enjoyed much popularity with performers ranging from the underground Plastic People of the Universe to last year's Czech Superstar (Czech Idol) Aneta Langerova.
The next few days should remain warm with day-time temperatures reaching 33 degrees Celsius on Sunday. It is expected to get cloudy on Sunday evening with showers lowering temperatures to some 25 degrees Celsius throughout the country in the first half of next week.
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