6 November 2000


AMARC denounces Czech authorities' denial of right to communicate

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(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is a 1 November 2000 AMARC press release:

November 1, 2000: At their regional meeting in Hungary this October, the AMARC-Europe General Assembly denounced the recent actions of the Czech authorities in arresting protesters and denying their human rights, including the right to communicate. The arrests came while the International Monetary Fund/World Bank was meeting this September in Prague.

The act of criminalizing protesters serves to intimidate civil society from participating in legitimate public protests which are an essential element of effective democracies.

Grassroots resistance against economic globalization has been building worldwide. Opposition to this movement has taken the form of attempts to suppress information. Before the Washington IMF/World Bank meetings this April, the IMF issued a press policy denying access to the meetings to various independent and community media journalists. AMARC protested this policy and led a joint action signed by 27 freedom of expression organizations during the IFEX Annual Meeting in New York in May 2000. In continuity with the AMARC's efforts to support grassroots movements and advocate in defence of their legitimate rights to communicate their opinions, perspectives, and analysis, we are asking you to join in pressuring officials for the release of the detainees still incarcerated in Prague.

[from the General Assembly of AMARC-Europe]

Following the demonstrations against the International Monetary Fund/World Bank this September in Prague, over 800 people were arrested. Now, weeks later, some of those arrested still remain in prison.

The Czech Ministry of the Interior has refused to issue names and exact numbers of those incarcerated persons, but there are - according to the Prague Legal Support Team (PLST) - at least 2 Polish people, 1 Danish person, 1 person from the UK, and at least one Czech person whose identity and charges are still unknown. Besides these people, 70 others have been reported as missing by friends and relatives. The PLST update states there are still people missing who may be in prison including 2 Romanians, 2 Kurdish people, and 1 American.

According to reports collected by the Legal Observers (OPH) in Prague, those in prison are being denied their human rights: the right to communicate with relatives and to contact a lawyer, the right to receive food and water regularly, the right to an interpreter, and the right to be free of police brutality. Their treatment by the police has many times fallen under the definition of torture set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The best hope for those in prison is that the public is informed of the situation and pressure is put on those embassies and officials who have not
acted to protect their citizens.

AMARC-Europe, representing free and independent media in countries across the continent, takes on this issue as part of their basic struggle for human rights and freedoms. The events in the Czech Republic are only an example of a larger issue of the criminalization of grassroots and social movements around the world. AMARC-Europe, in accordance with its Charter, resolves to monitor and resist this dangerous trend in all possible ways and throughout its membership and also denounces the unfair and manipulated nature of the mainstream media coverage of the event in Prague.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to the Ministry of the Interior:

- calling for the release of the detainees still incarcerated in Prague

Appeals To


Ministry of the Interior

Stanislav Gross

Nad Stolou 3

Prague 7,17000

Prague, Czech Republic

Ministers Office:

Tel: +420 2 614 33151

Fax: +420 2 614 33560

General Operator:

Tel: +420 2 614 21115

Fax: +420 2 614 33508

Please also fax/call foreign embassies in the Czech Republic.

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.


World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
705, rue Bourget, bureau 100, Montreal
Qubec, H4C 2M6
secgen (@) si.amarc.org
Fax:+1 514 8497129
Czech Republic
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