State Attorneys Outraged by Zeman’s Accusation thar ‘Solar Barons’ Ordered Vitaskova’s ProsecutionČTK
Prague, Jan 26 (CTK) – The Czech State Attorneys’ Union protested today against President Milos Zeman statement that it is not ruled out that the prosecution of former Energy Regulation Office (ERU) chairwoman Alena Vitaskova might have been initiated by “solar barons” against whom she was fighting.
The attorneys consider the statement Zeman made in a televised debate of presidential bidders on Thursday unacceptable and speculative, and say it undermines the trust in the judiciary, the union’s spokesman Ondrej Stastny told CTK today.
“It is extremely unsuitable for the head of state to spread utterly unfounded speculations about the existing chance to ‘order’ someone’s prosecution, similar to those PM Andrej Babis spread several days ago. Such statements strongly undermine people’s trust in the judiciary,” the state attorneys wrote in a statement.
Zeman said “Vitaskova fought against solar barons (large solar power plant owners) – and I am a staunch opponent of the subsidies going to renewable sources – which is why it cannot be ruled out that they might have initiated her prosecution.”
Vitaskova, ERU chairwoman from 2011 until July 2017, was tried for unlawful granting of licences to two solar power plants.
Radek Mezlik, the state attorney who supervised the Vitaskova case, ruled out her having been prosecuted “on order”. The system of controls within the police and the state attorney’s office absolutely rules out any such manipulation, Mezlik told CTK.
Last week, the Olomouc High Court acquitted Vitaskova of the charges, saying it had not been proved that the step for which she was prosecuted did really happen. Before, a lower level court imposed an 8.5-year prison sentence on her.
Vitaskova was the only person among a group of suspects who was acquitted.
The Union of State Attorneys wrote that she was acquitted based on additional pieces of evidence which the lower-level court did not have at its disposal.
“A crime evidently did happen in the given case [of the issuance of licences for the two solar plants, which made them eligible to higher state subsidies than if issued a few weeks later],” the Union wrote.
Last week, judicial representatives protested against a similar statement by PM Andrej Babis, who said in parliament that prosecution can be launched on order in the Czech Republic.
According to Supreme Court chairman Pavel Samal, such statements might threaten people’s trust in the judiciary and cause disintegration of the democratic rule of law.