Communist MP charged for maltreatment of prisoners

14. 11. 2008 16:40
Former prison warden Vondruška claims he is innocent
Vondruška believes he is innocent
Vondruška believes he is innocent | Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Praha - Former prison guard and now an MP of the Communist Party (KSČM) Josef Vondruška will face criminal charges for his actions as a prison guard in the 1980s.

Vondruška is accused of torture and maltreatment of inmates when he worked as a prison warden in a former prison in Minkovice in the Liberec Region.

"In regards to the circumstances and grave nature of the crimes [committed by Vondruška] the  case is not time barred," said state prosecutor Miroslav Mareš.

Prison guard-turned-politician Vondruška declined to comment on the allegations. "I have nothing to say. I said it all before. It is the same thing all over again," he added.

Vondruška worked as a prison guard for 18 years.

No immunity

Czech Chamber of Deputies lifted Vondruška's immunity a year ago. Typically, cases dealing with crime committed under the communist regime often lack enough evidence, which complicates the police investigation.

The police had to investigate Vondruška' s case twice, as the first time there was not enough evidence of Vondruška´s brutal behavior towards the prisoners.

Former political prisoners who served their jail sentences under Josef Vondruška say he was one of the most brutal prison wardens. One of the prisoners, Jiří Wolf, who was allegedly beaten by Vondruška, is said to have suffered a mental breakdown.

Another political prisoner Jiří Gruntorád was frequently placed in a solitary confinement by Vondruška.

He has always denied to have broken any law while working as a prison warden.

"I took my job responsibly and I worked in good faith just like thousands of other people at that time. My job was indispensable for the state at that time. I did not violate any laws and I did not commit the crimes I am accused of," said Vondruška at a debate in the lower house before the vote was taken on whether to strip him off immunity in September 2007.

The Liberec Regional leadership of the Communist Party (KSČM) claims Vondruška is innocent.


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