Petr Lessy was relieved of his duties as the president of the Czech Police on Wednesday morning. Interior Minister Jan Kubice dismissed Mr Lessy from the police force with immediate effect following the filing of criminal charges against him. The General Inspectorate of Security Forces accused the now former police chief of libel and abuse of public office. At a press conference later in the day, Mr Kubice cited a law that says a police officer can be dismissed if he is accused of contemptible or possible criminal behaviour which could threaten the good reputation of the security forces. Mr Lessy told the E15 news server that he considers the accusations to be nonsensical and is ready to defend himself. Mr Lessy will be replaced by his former deputy Martin Červíček, the government announced.
The slander charge is connected to statements Mr Lessy made more than half a year ago about the head of the Zlín regional police force Bedřich Koutný and his deputy Jaroslav Vaňek in relation to the so-called Tofl gang case. Interior Minister Jan Kubice has called on Mr Lessy to resign a number of times in the past. Chairman of the opposition Sovial Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, fiercely criticized the move, saying the dismissal is an attempt of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party to curtail the independence of the police force.
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