Czech chief prosecutor resigns

Czech Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman

© APA | Czech Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman

# 14 May 2021 20:04 (UTC +04:00)

Czech Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman is resigning, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Jan Hamacek announced on his Twitter on Friday, APA reports citing TASS.

"Pavel Zeman is an outstanding lawyer and professional. Let me thank him for the years of work for the Czech Republic and, among other things, for the Vrbetice case," Hamacek wrote.

Pavel Zeman stated in April that explosions at the ammunition storage depots in the settlement of Vrbetice in 2014 "are not a terror attack" and in this case "no interest to undermine the constitutional system or damage the Czech Republic’s defense capability has been established." He also said it was "solely up to politicians" to decide on how to characterize the incident both in politics and in the media.

Zeman’s term of office expires on June 30, the TV Channel CT24 reported.

On April 17, the Czech authorities claimed that Moscow was involved in the 2014 explosions at the Vrbetice ammunition storage depots in the country’s east, which killed two people, and expelled 18 Russian embassy employees, calling them intelligence officers. The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged its resolute protest over this move made "under groundless and far-fetched pretexts" and expelled 20 Czech embassy employees.

Czech Prosecutor General Pavel Zeman said on Friday he was resigning over disagreements with Justice Minister Marie Benesova.

"Mrs. Justice Minister has been exerting quite strong pressure on me lately," the chief prosecutor said at a press conference. "This does not suit me. Possibly, I would have resigned earlier but the Vrbetice incident kept me in this post for some time. I have no fear of the investigation stalling," he said.

Zeman has headed the Czech Prosecutor General’s Office in the past ten years and a half.