Petr Dubinsky

Former President Fined For Not Wearing Mask In Breach Of COVID-19 Rules

Former President Vaclav Klaus must pay a fine of 8,000 crowns for last year’s appearance without a face covering in front of the Municipal House in Prague, Czech Television reported. The fine was validly confirmed by the Ministry of Health, which rejected Klaus’s appeal. The ex-president must also pay another thousand crowns as costs of proceedings. Klaus will file an administrative lawsuit against the verdict before the Municipal Court in Prague, Koudelka said.

The amount of the fine is slightly lower than originally set by the Prague hygienic station, which imposed a fine of ten thousand on Klaus. “The Ministry reduced the amount of the fine from ten thousand crowns to eight thousand crowns because, unlike the Hygiene Station of the Capital City of Prague, it did not take into account as an aggravating circumstance that the accused committed a misdemeanor at the time of COVID-19 -2.

Klaus intends to argue in the administrative lawsuit, that the hygienists imposed a fine in violation of the constitution for violating a measure that was annulled by a court due to illegality. “From a constitutional point of view, fines cannot be imposed and enforced on the basis of illegal and unconstitutional legal acts,” he said. According to him, the former president perceives the disagreement with the fine as a defense of all other people who were affected by the illegal measures of the Ministry of Health. The administrative action does not have a suspensive effect against the decision of the Ministry, however, according to his lawyer, Klaus has already paid the fine.

Last year, on October 28, Klaus came to the Municipal House to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. He made a speech at the memorial plaque criticizing the government’s measures against coronavirus. Despite the government’s measures at the time, he did not wear a veil for the event. After the publication of footage from the event in the media, the case began to be dealt with by the police, who then handed the case over to the Prague Hygiene Station for resolution. In January, hygienists fined the former president ten thousand crowns for violating extraordinary measures. Klaus disagreed with the fine and filed an objection against the decision, in which he demanded the termination of the misdemeanor proceedings. In March, however, hygiene confirmed its decision. Klaus, therefore, turned to the Ministry of Health, which now rejected his objections.

According to the Ministry, the hygienic station did not find out during the administrative proceedings that Klaus had infected someone by his actions, which was considered a mitigating circumstance when determining the amount of the fine.

Klaus has previously stated that filing an opposition to a fine was intended “not only as a disagreement with the imposition of a specific fine but also as a civil protest for general reasons aimed at protecting the rights of all citizens and protecting freedom against the suppression of civil liberties.” According to him, the imposition of a fine is a punishment for a political act and not a punishment motivated by epidemiological reasons. According to him, it is the duty of public life representatives to publicly remember the establishment of the state and not to be deterred by an epidemic. He noted that he received punishment for laying a bouquet for a few minutes and a two-minute outdoor speech without a veil. Duties can only be imposed by law, and wearing a veil is not required by law, he noted.

Klaus has appeared in public without a veil or other facial protection and has long criticized government measures against the spread of coronavirus.