Former high-ranking Communist official Miroslav Štěpán dies aged 68

Former high-ranking official of the totalitarian Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Miroslav Štěpán, died on Sunday at the age of 68, the news website novinky.cz reported. Mr Štěpán, who served as chair of the party’s Prague organization and member of its central committee in the late 1980s, rose to national notoriety as a vehement opponent of the Velvet Revolution of 1989. He was arrested shortly after the collapse of the regime, and served two and half years in prison for his role in suppressing anti-communist protests. Miroslav Štěpán was one of few Communist officials to have been sentenced after 1989; he never relinquished his ideology, and blamed Soviet leaders for abandoning their comrades in Prague.