Two Letters Re: Violience To Prague Protesters
Monday, October 02, 2000
Embassy of the Czech Republic
H.E. Vladimir Kotzy, Ambassador
251 Cooper St. Ottawa, ON K2P 0G2
Dear Ambassador Kotzy,
I am writing on behalf of the National Union to express my concern over reports about the mistreatment of protesters in Prague. Much of the news I have received from Czechoslovakia detail horrific examples of violence and harassment against protesters. These reports are from highly credible sources and my concerns are not about to be dissuaded by platitudes from the Czech government.
It is vitally important that the following steps be immediately taken to guarantee that the rights of the detained protesters are respected:
* information must be released to embassies and legal observers regarding the identities of those who have been arrested along with details of when, reasons, and where they are being held;
* physical and sexual abuse of protestors in police custody must end immediately and appropriate disciplinary action be taken on the offending officers;
* that protestors held in jail be informed in their own language what they are being held for; and
* the immediate release of all protestors arrested in the past week.
James Clancy National President
Cc Larry Brown, National
Kenneth Georgetti, President CLC
Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada
I worked for years in support of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and was a personal friend of Jan Kavan of Palach Press and was a guest of Petr Uhl in his flat in Prague in 1987. I organized a Canadian speaking tour featuring Kavan in 1986 and in support of Charta 77. I was also harassed and interogated by Husak's border police in a train station on the border with Poland (during a trip from Prague to Warsaw) at 3:00 a.m.in 1987 following my visit to Prague. So I am particularly appalled at your government's brutal repression of the demonstrators against the IMF/World Bank in Prague. It is what I would have expected from the regimes of Gustav Husak and Antonin Novotny and during the time of the infamous Slansky Trials.
Accordingly I demand the following:
1} that information be released to embassies and the legal observers as to who was arrested, when, for what reasons, and where they are being held.
2} that the physical and sexual abuse happening to protestors in police custody end immediately and appropriate action taken on the offending officers.
3} that protestors held in jail be informed in their own language what they are being held for.
4} the immediate release of all protestors arresested in the past week.
Vice-President Canadian Autoworkers Local 199 St.
Catharines, Ontario Canada