Prague - After 8 years in prison, a man who in 2002 plotted to kill a Czech investigative journalist is released on probation. A district court in Plzeň, Western Bohemia, decided that Karel Srba is to be released with a 5 year probation.
It is yet another twist in "perhaps the most bizarre political and criminal scandal since the fall of communism" in the Czech Republic, as BBC wrote in 2002 in an article about the case.
After his release, Srba did not say much to journalists. „Freedom", he answered when asked what does the court's ruling mean to him.
In 2003, Srba was sentenced to 12 years in prison for plotting to murder Sabina Slonková, an investigative journalist who worked for the Czech MF Dnes daily at the time. The journalist, who currently works in Aktuálně.cz, was investigating corruption in the Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry, in which Srba was allegedly involved.
In June 2010, Srba asked the court for a parole release - in the Czech judiciary system, every prisoner who has served a part of his time may ask the court to annul the rest of the sentence. As much as one third of the original sentence can be annulled in this way.
Pride comes before the fall
The court ruled in Srba's favor mostly because of the positive report from the prisons he was locked in. Srba worked as a prison cook, in a prison warehouse, and as an English and geography teacher to his fellow inmates. According to the report, Srba was a trouble-free prisoner.
An expert said in the report that in 2002, Srba's high-profile post in the ministry made him behave in an arrogant, narcissistic and even sociopathic manner. Srba, the expert wrote, could not stand somebody not obeying him. "Now, his profile is dramatically different, he is more humble," the expert said.
In addition to the murder plot case, Srba was also investigated for corruption and embezzlement in the Foreign Affairs Ministry which was headed at the time by Jan Kavan (1998-2002), who later became the President of the UN General Assembly for the years 2002 and 2003.
So far, Srba was not sentenced for any of these allegations.
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