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Open letter to the Embassies and Institutions of the European Union regarding the liquidation of Association of Political Prisoners by the current government of the Slovak Republic
Application for support for the publication of the magazine Svedomie (Conscience)

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The actions of the Minister of the Interior of the current government, Mr. Roman Mikulec, who decided on a liquidation grant for the World Association of Former Political Prisoners, representing former political prisoners and forcibly abducted NKVDs in the Gulags in the former Soviet Union, which make up two-thirds of the Association's membership base open letter - requests for HELP and assistance to foreign Embassies. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Association's registration in the Slovak Republic, again as after the occupation of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, we face the efforts of the Ministry of the Interior, for which the activities of political prisoners are undesirable. After the occupation, the Association of Political Prisoners form - K-231,was banned by Communists Party of Czechoslovakia.Thanks to the help and support of Western democracies at the time of normalization,70-ties of twentieth Century, they operated in Canada and Switzerland. Today, when the Slovak Republic appears to the world as a democratic country, Associations representing political prisoners who are not sufficiently servile to the government,and can not be banned, but they can eliminate them with financial liquidation of subsidies, without which the Association's activities are not possible.On the other hand, the Ministry of the Interior, by violating the principle of equal treatment, provides twice as much subsidies to the Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters, who collaborated with the former Communist regime and remained silent in violating human rights and freedoms in 1948-1989, discriminating against our Association of Political Prisoners since 2013. The Ministry of the Interior increased the subsidy to the privileged Confederation of Political Prisoners Of Slovakia, previously infiltrated by State Security agents,former ŠtB – Secret State Police, which, after an illegitimate amendment to the statutes in November 2020, became a private Ltd. Company (Slovak - s.r.o.) of three members of its presidency, apparently disrupting Political Prisoners' Organizations.. Unfortunately, the words of the poor professor Milan Šimeček, a former political prisoner, whom he told the signatory of „Charter 77“ to Vladimír Pavlík, are confirmed: “The communist regime is afraid of the truth and therefore anyone who defends it is a threat to it. I am afraid that when this regime falls, people like you will once again be a threat to the new democratic regime, which former minions and collaborators will adapt to their image, because they will fear the truth as much as the Communists will. "

Anti-discrimination appeal/lawsuit

Open letter to the Embassies and Institutions of the European Union regarding the liquidation of Association of Political Prisoners by the current government of the Slovak Republic

Application for support for the publication of the magazine Svedomie (Conscience)

Dear Representatives of Embassies and Institutions of the European Union,

the current steps of the Government of the Slovak Republic and in particular of the Minister of the Interior of the Slovak Republic Roman Mikulec, who is entitled to decide on the provision of subsidies for the activities of civic associations, which according to the Act on the provision of subsidies No. 526/2010 Coll. have the right for a state subsidy, are forcing us to ask you for your help, as it was the case in 1968 after the occupation of the then Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army after the bloody suppression of the so-called "Prague Spring".
The democratic countries of the Western world, especially Canada and Switzerland, then helped our predecessors the exiled Associations of Political Prisoners in their countries.

At the time, the greatest threat to the communist regime were the organization of political prisoners called Club K 231 and the Association of Former Political Prisoners, which were formed in the spring of 1968. They worked closely with an organization in Canada founded in 1967 by people who escaped the communist regime or went to exile after release from prison. It was headed by Zdeněk Slavík (1922–2005), who was sentenced to life in prison in 1950 (he spent ten years in prison, escaped from Czechoslovakia to Canada in 1967). In the spring of 1968, they joined forces with the newly formed Club K 231. A new impetus for the exile organization was the arrival of former political prisoners from Czechoslovakia after the August occupation, including aerial acrobat Milo Komínek.
Milo Komínek was born on June 20, 1926 in the family of a metallurgical foreman in Frýdek-Místek. After graduating from elementary school, he trained as a mechanical locksmith and cinema operator.
After February 1948, time of communist coup of which he was an immediate eyewitness, the Ministry of the Interior confiscated his pilot's diploma and Piper-Cub and Brücker-Jungmann 131 aircraft, banned him from access to all airports in the Czechoslovak Republic and ordered him to report to the SNB – (Czechoslovak police) station daily. On March 21, 1948, he therefore decided to flee from Czechoslovakia in the area of ​​Mariánské Lázně.
He was wounded near the border (abdominal shot), he was treated in a farm for two weeks. On April 4, 1948 he decided to flee again with an unhealed wound, but he was physically exhausted and betrayed and finally arrested and escorted to the district prison in Mariánské Lázně and later interrogated in the State Security Prison in Bartolomějská Street No. 4 in Prague. He was taken for interrogation to the headquarters of the Provincial Department of Security (ZOB) in Washington Street (the famous Gestapo Bakery). On April 24, 1948, he was escorted to the Pankrác Regional Prison, but on June 21, 1948, he was released on amnesty by the newly elected President of the Republic, Klement Gottwald. The same evening, he was again prosecuted by an arrest warrant, but he managed to leave Prague after being warned by friends.

In June 1948, he founded the Resistance /Soldateska/ group "Portáš" in the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains in the Jablunkov Pass, in which he was active under the pseudonym "Miko". On August 6, 1948, he was betrayed, surrounded in the mountains, wounded, arrested and taken to the Regional Hospital in Ostrava. On October 6, 1948, he was sentenced in Ostrava by the State Court to 20 years in prison, and then escorted to Bory Prison in Pilsen. He was a prisoner of the communist regime continuously for 17 years. He was released on May 26, 1965 (16 weeks after the amnesty was announced).
On August 6, 1968, he left the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic for Vienna, thus beginning his emigrant anabasis. Speaking on behalf of political prisoners from K-231 and the Human Rights Society, he also wrote an open protest letter to UN Secretary-General U´Thant in New York.

In January 1970, he was elected secretary of the Association of Former Czechoslovak political prisoners in exile ", established its headquarters in Toronto, where he began printing the exile magazine" MUKL "(Muž určen k likvidaci - Man destined for disposal). He organized cultural and ethnographic programs in Canada and the United States, and organized demonstrations to fight against international communism and the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

In February 1990, after 22 years, he flew to the Czechoslovak Republic for the first time. In Olomouc, he founded a branch office of the "Svědomí” ("Conscience") magazine as well as publishing magazines "Naše hlasy" (“Our Vioces”) and "Vězeň" (“Prisoner”). Milo Komínek tirelessly published the magazine "Conscience", criticizing the inability of the current state to unequivocally condemn and punish illegal practices and wrongdoings from the times of communist Czechoslovakia, the crimes of the Communist Party, which under Act 198/93 Coll. were declared criminal and reprehensible.
Milo Komínek died on May 25, 2010 at the age of eighty-four.

Later, MUDr. Karel František Koch (1890–1981), a military doctor, pedagogue, participant in the Second Resistance and mayor of Bratislava, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after February 1948 and imprisoned until 1964. He contributed that the organization based in Toronto, Canada was renamed the Association of Former Czechoslovak Political Prisoners.
In 1976, the association merged with an organization that was formed in Switzerland in 1969 and adopted the name World Association of Former Czechoslovak Political Prisoners in Exile, based in Zurich.
In 1988, the association built a memorial to the victims of communist terror in Czechoslovakia. The ceremonial unveiling of the four-meter-high barbed wire cross took place on February 26, 1988 in Nagelberg, on the Czech-Austrian border (Halámky – Gmünd).

           Our organization World Association of Former Political Prisoners (original name until 2015 World Association of Former Czechoslovak Political Prisoners) is the oldest association operating in the Slovak Republic and the successor organization of the World Association of Former Czechoslovak Political Prisoners in Exile based in Zurich, established from Club K 231 and Association of former political prisoners.

It is the only Association of political prisoners in Slovakia, in which no collaborator of the Communist State Security (ŠtB) has ever been registered in its leadership by the Institute of the Memory of the Nation.

As two-thirds of the members are relatives of citizens forcibly abducted by the NKVD to the Gulags in the former Soviet Union, the only association advocating to keep in mind that 70,000 citizens were forcibly abducted from the former Czechoslovakia, as recently confirmed by the KGB archives, many of whom did not return. Many of our members do not even know where their abducted relatives were buried. After the death of the publisher of the Canadian-Czech magazine SVEDOMí (Consience), Milo Komínek and his wife, the association no longer has its own magazine.

Paradoxically, even more than 30 years after the fall of Communism, our activities of pointing out to atrocities of communist governments and  infiltration of former members of the communist party and collaborators of state security in the existing post-communist era establishment are seen as undesirable.

For a while, we have been pointing out to the disparity in the provision of subsidies provided by the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic according to the Act on the provision of subsidies No. 526/2010 Coll. to associations as ours. For instance, here is the allocation of the subsidies provided in 2020.

• The pro-communist and pro-Moscow-oriented Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters, which Robert Fico described as part of government policy (SZPB) 415,000 euros.
• Political prisoners Union of Anti-Communist Resistance (PV ZPKO) 81,000 euros,
• Confederation of Political Prisoners of Slovakia KPVS 74,000 euros,
• World Association of Former Political Prisoners (CFSP) 8,000 euros.

           Despite several appeals to the government, which promised a change after the 2020 elections after the twelve-year government of Robert Fico and his Smer-SD party, discrimination against political prisoners such our association has deepened. This is confirmed by the reduction of the subsidy for 2021 for our association by half to the amount of 4,000 euros, which can mean liquidation for the association. Former Prime Minister Matovič and Deputy Prime Minister - Minister for Investment Remišová did not accept our requests for support for the publication of the magazine Svedomie. Neither the Ministry of the Interior nor the Slovak Information Service showed any interest in or information obtained by us about serious economic crime.

By this approach of the current government to us, we were forced to bring an anti-discrimination appeal to the court on July 1, 2021, for violation of the principle of equal treatment. The translation of the appeal into English is attached in the appendix.

The grounds of the lawsuit and the proposed evidence confirm that, since its inception in 2001, the  Association has unfortunately never found support from political parties to pass laws dealing with the unfortunate legacy of the Communist regime, whose nomenclature linked to the ŠtB and KGB (ŠtB - State Police of Czechoslovakia, KGB – Secret Police of former Soviet Union)  has succeeded in exchanging for economic power. Due to the so-called "Rough line" and the General pardon behind the crimes of communism, the continuity of the legal system also continued by generating crimes of post-communism in the form of financial oligarchy connected to the political mafia, which grew like cancer metastases throughout Slovakia.
The result of the pretended democracy based on the false myths of November 1989, the theft and transfer of former state property into the hands of the elected elite with corrupt political parties, the loss of public confidence and ultimately the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée.

  Our Association is in disgrace despite the fact that it has approximately the same number of members and has the same agenda as the associations representing political prisoners, the Confederation of Political Prisoners of Slovakia (KPVS) and the Union of Anti-Communist Resistance (PV ZPKO) which receive much higher subsidies. For the activities of the Association against the financial oligarchy often connected with organized crime and for the fact that in 2003 we protested against the election of Dobroslav Trnka as Attorney General -  http://www.szcpv.org/04/trnka.html and called for the resignation of the then chairman  of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic Štefan Harabin http://www.szcpv.org/09/ocistenie.html we were punished with the lowest subsidy, as confirmed by the website of the (SVS MV SR) Public Administration Section of the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic. We did not become a pendant of Smer-SD as the Slovak Union of Anti-Fascist Fighters, which Robert Fico declared as part of government policy, regardless of its pro-communist and pro-Moscow activities.

           Unlike the Confederation of Political Prisoners and other Associations, our priority is not only to passively lay wreaths and make a living from subsidies, but first and foremost to support democracy in the Slovak Republic.

As the only Association for financial reasons, we cannot publish our magazine "Svedomie" (“Conscience”) focused on education, the fight against the spread of disinformation and the publication of objective information about the period of years 1939-1989 as well as the period after November 1989 and current events in our society.

The main goal of the magazine is to educate the general public, but especially young people, pupils and students, as these groups are being abused to protest against efforts to restore citizens' confidence in the rule of law. By publishing the magazine, we want to fill the absent space of a suitable  periodical and at the same time respond to the fact that there are political parties in Slovak parliament that relativize the crimes of Fascism and Communism. From our point of view, therefore, there is a social need for an adequate information campaign for the period of World War II. and post-war times without a nationalist and hateful outlook. The participation of these parties in the parliament confirms that education and training in Slovakia, mainly with a focus on young people, has failed. Unfortunately, the absence of an objective medium to support steps to restore democracy and the rule of law is being abused by alternative media and social networks.

We would therefore be grateful for your financial support for the publication of our magazine "Svedomie".

       It is unfortunate that more than 30 years after the fall of the communist totalitarian regime, true former political prisoners are out of favour and forced to ask for help from foreign democracies when they want to publish their magazines and consistently defend the ideas of anti-communist resistance and basic principles of democracy. The current government is a great disappointment to us. We regret to say that, like the governments of Vladimír Mečiar and Robert Fico, it has two faces again. One for the democratic world and the European Union on the restoration of the rule of law and the fight against corruption, which, however, as we can show evidence includes manipulation of economic crime investigations and serves more the elimination of political competition and the other face which was lived by prisoners and abducted people to gulags whose activities and opions are undesirable for this government.

Yours sincerely

František Bednár
President of the World Association of Former Political Prisoners

Annex: Anti-discrimination appeal filed on 1 July 2021

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