News Life sentences handed down to methanol poisoning masterminds
A Czech court has handed down life sentences to two mean accused of being the ringleaders of the methanol scandal which cost the lives of more than 50 people. The regional court in Zlín handed down the sentences to Tomáš Krepela and Rudolf Fian, who were accused of masterminding the mixing hard spirits with deadly methanol in a concoction which started to kill from September 2012 onwards. Slovaks and Poles as well as Czechs numbered amongst the victims. A third man who acted as distributor, Jiří Vacul, was given a 15 year sentence. Lighter punishments were given to another seven co-defendants.
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Evžen Sedlář, the central figure in a drug abuse case which resulted in the death of an 18-year-old-boy in March of this year, has admitted responsibility for his death. Sedlář gave the victim and another friend of his drugs, transdermal painkillers and alcohol to experiment with at a party. Sedlář, who admitted his guilt in court on Thursday, could face up to 18 years in prison. The incident, which ended in tragedy, was recorded on a mobile phone by one of the participants.
Organic food chains in the Czech Republic are planning to expand into production since local farmers are allegedly unable to meet growing demand on the market. According to David Kukla, owner of the Sklizeno chain, there is a lack of home-grown organic vegetables and poultry in particular and shoppers cannot rely on regular deliveries. The chain Náš Grunt, which has 30 outlets around the country, is also planning to expand into production.
Police in the Náchod region of north Bohemia are investigating the death of a fourteen-year-old boy who was fatally injured on a football field after swinging on a goalpost and getting trapped under it. Despite getting immediate medical attention the boy died shortly after of extensive internal injuries. Police are investigating the incident as possible negligence on the part of the authorities who failed to properly secure the goalpost. Since 2009 three children have been killed by falling goalposts.
The Czech Republic on Wednesday commemorates the 46th anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A series of events is held to mark the anniversary including a chain hunger strike and a gathering outside the Czech Radio building which saw clashes between civilian protesters and the occupying forces. The invasion of five Warsaw Pact armies quashed efforts by Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party to reform the regime in a period known as the Prague Spring, ushering an era of renewed repression lasting until the late 1980s.
The Czech Supreme Court has ruled that parents of children of up to 15 years of age are entitled to part-time jobs, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported. Hearing a case of a clerk of Liberec City Hall who was fired over insisting on working part time, the court said employers had to accommodate parents’ requests for part-time contracts unless it would jeopardize the functioning of the firm or office. The verdict is seen as a breakthrough in the practice of Czech employers which have in the past been reluctant in granting part-time contracts to their employees.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a temporary ban for Czech bike rider Roman Kreuziger over doping allegations. The ruling confirms a decision by the International Cycling Union to temporarily suspend the 28-year-old member of the Russian-registered Tinkoff-Saxo team until irregularities in his biological passport are cleared. It means that Kreuziger, who has been unable to compete since June, will not participate in the Vuelta a España race that begins on Saturday. In a reaction on Twitter, Kreuziger said he would continue to fight the ban.
A court in Prague has ruled that the Green Party must pay 500,000 crowns, or some 24,000 US dollars, to the author of a song lyrics the group used in their election campaign in 2010. The party used the slogan “And what about children, do they have a place to play” which was featured in a 1980 song by the Czech rock band Katapult. The band allowed the party to use the song but the Greens never asked the author of the lyrics for permission. The author, who now runs a law firm, claimed one of clients, an industrial company, stopped working with him after the Green Party used the slogan. The court has also ordered the party to publicly apologize to the author of the lyrics.
The police in Prague have charged 34-year-old man from Ukraine with the July murder of a prostitute who also originated from that country. The police said the man, who was the victim’s next-door neighbour, was addicted to online gaming but could not afford an internet connection. He secretly used the woman’s computer but when she caught him in her flat, he killed her with a knife. He then chopped her body whose parts were found in several waste management facilities in the capital. The police said they were able to determine the woman’s identity with the help of their German colleagues who kept a record of the woman’s fingerprints. The man has reportedly confessed to the crime; if convicted, he faces between 10 and 18 years in prison.
The Czech branch of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International will monitor the financing of October’s local and Senate elections, members of the group told a news conference on Wednesday. The NGO will keep track of the finance accounts of candidates running for the Senate; it will also monitor any abuse of municipally-owned media by political parties controlling local city and town halls. The group has voiced concerns of voter fraud and vote buying that is likely to appear in some of the country’s most depressed regions including north Bohemia and north Moravia. A report is to be released in late September, two weeks before the voting.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Belarusian dissident Ales Bialiatski will be among the guests of this year’s Forum 2000 conference, the organizers said on Wednesday. The event, founded by then Czech president Václav Havel in 1996 as a venue for bringing together world leaders, intellectuals and civic activists, will this year reflect on the 25 years since the fall of communism in central and Eastern Europe. The Forum 2000 conference will take place in the Czech capital between October 12 and 15.