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Czech KDU-CSL leader protests against U.S. human rights report

Prague, 14.3.2008 17:08, (ROMEA/CTK)

Chairman of the Czech junior governing Christian Democrats Jiri Cunek today protested against the parts of the U.S. Department of State annual report on the state of human rights in the world concerning him in a letter sent to U.S. ambassador Richard Graber.

Cunek wrote the information in the report was inaccurate and false, adding that he felt harmed by it.

Cunek said he insisted that the information should be corrected.

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"I believe that when drafting the report, the responsible employees only made the inaccuracies as they used irrelevant information sources," Cunek said.

"Still I consider the publication of inaccurate and false information about me inadmissible and I feel harmed by it not only as a politician, but also as a citizen of the Czech Republic," Cunek wrote.

The report mentions the scandal involving Cunek, a former deputy prime minister and local development minister, as an example of corruption in the Czech Republic.

"I would like to stress that the state attorney stopped the investigation as he came to the conclusion that the act for which I was prosecuted did not occur," Cunek said.

The report also writes about eviction of Romanies from the north Moravian town Vsetin in 2006 when Cunek was its mayor.

Turning to this point, Cunek wrote that the police had closed the investigation with the conclusion that his conduct did not clash with the law.

He stressed that it had not been his decision in the capacity of the mayor of Vsetin, but he implemented a court decision.

"The town hall provided care to all, both legal and illegal, occupants of the house and no one stayed in the street without any help," he added.

The U.S. report on the state of human rights in the world in 2007 also mentions the case of former Social Democrat (CSSD) prime minister Stanislav Gross. Gross resigned as prime minister and CSSD chairman over dubious funding of the purchase of a luxurious apartment.

The report says that although the Czech government protects the rights of its citizens, corruption and law enforcement still remain a problem in the country.

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek (senior ruling Civic Democrats, ODS) sharply protested against the report on Wednesday and dismissed the U.S. criticism.

"As for the report by the U.S. Department of State, I can only say that a country that allows the torturing of prisoners can hardly teach me lessons about human rights being violated in my country," Topolanek said on Wednesday.

According to the report, similar problems can be encountered in Slovakia.

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Czech republic, gate, Vsetín



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