Czech journalist and human rights defender Petr Uhl dies


PRAGUE (Reuters) – Petr Uhl, a distinguished Czech journalist and human rights activist jailed by former communist rulers, died on Wednesday, information company CTK reported. He was 80.

Uhl was a lifelong leftist however by no means joined the Communist Social gathering that ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989, and was revered by democratic activists of all political convictions.

He drew inspiration from west European leftists in Paris the place he repeatedly travelled in his youth.

He arrange a radical leftist youth motion within the Sixties that spoke out towards repressions following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and was jailed for 4 years on expenses of subversion.

He was one of many founders in late 1976 – alongside future president Vaclav Havel – of the Constitution 77 human rights motion which turned the principle platform of peaceable opposition to the communist authorities.

“Petr Uhl was a courageous and straight-forward man who didn’t change his stance or opinions in keeping with the present expectations in society,” former fellow dissident, Catholic bishop Vaclav Maly instructed CTK.

The nation’s incoming centre-right authorities additionally paid tribute to him. No reason behind loss of life was given.

“I esteemed Petr Uhl for his braveness and persistence within the struggle towards the communist regime,” incoming Prime Minister Petr Fiala mentioned on Twitter.

Uhl additionally helped arrange the Committee for the Defence of Unjustly Prosecuted (VONS), a bunch serving to politically persecuted activists, for which he was jailed once more, for 5 years, in 1979.

His two sentences made him one of many longest-jailed anti-communist dissidents within the Seventies and Eighties.

After his launch from jail in 1984, Uhl labored as a boiler stoker but in addition revealed details about Constitution 77 actions and was a part of VIA, a bunch of dissidents within the then Soviet bloc making an attempt to supply unbiased information.

Following the 1989 finish of communist rule, Uhl turned a member of parliament and the top of the nationwide information company, CTK. He was additionally a authorities envoy for human rights.

He’s survived by his spouse Anna Sabatova, who was the nation’s first ombudswoman for human rights, and 4 youngsters.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Enhancing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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