Actor Martin Štěpánek commits suicide

Actor and former culture minister Martin Štěpánek committed suicide in his Prague residence on Thursday night. The police confirmed that Mr. Štěpánek shot himself, but have released no further details. Štěpánek came from a famous family of actors and spent more than ten years in exile after emigrating from communist Czechoslovakia in 1981. He asked for political asylum in Austria where he both acted and worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. After the fall of communism he moved back to Prague. Štěpánek served as culture minister in prime minister Mirek Topolánek’s centre-right government between September 2006 and January 2007.