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Czech Republic: Autonomous Social Center Klinika is again open to the public, court overturns preliminary injunction

11.7.2016 14:27
Two members of the Autonomous Social Center Klinika in Prague holding a sign that says
Two members of the Autonomous Social Center Klinika in Prague holding a sign that says "Klinika Must Breathe". (PHOTO: Facebook page of the Autonomous Social Center Klinika - Autonomní sociální centrum Klinika).

The Autonomous Social Center Klinika in Prague opened to the public again on 7 July after several weeks of closure. The Municipal Court in Prague has overturned a preliminary injunction banning the center from operating.

Activist Jakub Ort informed the Czech News Agency of the reopening. A lawsuit filed by the building administrator, the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs (Úřad pro zastupování státu ve věcech majetkových - ÚZSVM), over Klinika's allegedly illegal operations there has not yet been ruled on by the courts.

Legal disputes have been underway about the building on Jeseniova Street in the Žižkov quarter of Prague for several months now. Ort said that in this most recent decision, the appeals court has rejected the ÚZSVM argument that Klinika is operating in contravention of a decision to permit occupancy of the property.

"No such decision to permit occupancy actually exists," Ort said. Radek Ležatka, spokesperson for the ÚZSVM, said they will analyze the court decision.

He also claims the ÚZSVM has never asserted that such a permit for occupancy did exist. Several fines have been levied against Klinika in the interim for failure to respect the preliminary injunction on operating on the premises.

The court is dealing with the case as a civil dispute. ÚZSVM filed the lawsuit over Klinika's alleged failure to abide by the terms of its contract with them.

Ort said it is no longer possible to reach agreement. "Their position is absolutely separate from ours. There is no room for negotiation," he said.

"We received the ruling of the Municipal Court in the matter of the property at Jeseniova 60, which once again changes the preliminary injunction in effect, and we are currenlty assessing it," Ležatka said on 7 July. The priority for the ÚZSVM, according to him, is for the court hearing regarding the lawsuit seeking the removal of Klinika from the premises to be scheduled as soon as possible.

"That is the only possible way to dismantle what is currently an illegal state of affairs. We firmly believe the court will rule in our favor. It is still the case that the property has been illegally occupied since 3 March 2016," he said.

According to Ležatka, the ÚZSVM never alleged that a decision to permit occupancy of the property had ever been issued. "We never made that claim. That is yet another matter that some people are attempting to mislead the public about," he said.

The abandoned building in Žižkov was occupied by activists at the end of 2014. The ÚZSVM subsequently leant them the building for one year.

That contract ended at the beginning of March this year. Ever since then, according to the administrator of the building, it has been used illegally.

Recently anonymous callers notified police on four occasions that a bomb had been placed on the premises. Police repeatedly evacuated the building but never found any explosives.

That situation is being dealt with by the police and several criminal reports have been filed in relation to it. The City of Prague has said it is interested in acquiring the building.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Aktivismus, Klinika, Praha, Sociální, sociální práce



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