Friday, July 7, 2023

Czech historian Josef Skála persecuted for challenging the official narrative on the Katyn massacre!

Do you dare to challenge the official anti-communist narrative in historical issues? You will be persecuted! This seems to be the case of
Josef Skála, a Marxist historian and politician from Czech Republic, who is persecuted because of his research on the Katyn Massacre (a Nazi crime that has been attributed to the Soviets)!  

This is a new episode in the escalation of anti-communist hysteria throughout the EU, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe, where socialist-era monuments are being demolished and the activity of communists is criminalized. 
Letter by CPBM President K. Konečná
In a public letter, the head of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM), MEP Kateřina Konečná, points out:
"Freedom of expression – the core promise of the ‘velvet revolution’ – has been under a growing attack. The increasingly arrogant authorities even start to harass academic research. Whenever censorship is not enough, dissent is directly criminalised. The latest victim of these practices has been Dr Josef Skála, a Marxist historian and a widely known representative of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM).

On 7th June 2023, the Prague City Court sentenced him to eight months in prison, conditionally suspended for 18 months. He is persecuted for “genocide denial”, allegedly committed during a radio debate on the Katyn Massacre of Polish POWs near Smolensk during the Second World War. The debate was broadcast on 2nd July 2020.

In reality, Dr Skála expressed his doubts about the version, launched by the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels, which blamed the Soviet Union for the above mass murder. Dr Skála ́s interpretation was based on serious sources not only from Russia, but also from the USA, France and Poland – studies of university professors, court decisions, and reports of acknowledged experts (in forensic pathology and other relevant disciplines).

None of Dr Skála's arguments were stated as an undisputable truth. He presented them as an appeal for further unbiased research and discussion. A fair space for such a debate was offered both to the audience of the above live debate and to anybody watching its complete record during the subsequent years. The Czech judiciary denied Dr Skála the basic rights – which are not denied even to heavy criminals – to present his documentary proofs, to confront the experts of the prosecution, and to invite scholars sharing the opposite interpretation, based on relevant primary sources.

Dr Skála applied a generally acknowledged commitment of science – to further deepen its already achieved results. He endangered neither national security nor democratic foundations of the society, public health or any other interests, deserving legal protection.

Prominent advocates, defending Dr Skála and other persecuted subjects, proved that the entire criminalisation lacked any legal basis and violated the Czech Constitution and the European legislation.

Instead, we were facing a flagrant political trial. The persecution of Dr Skála started three weeks after the CPBM had announced his candidacy for President of the Czech Republic. As a Marxist intellectual, enjoying broad sympathy, he attracted public support of many personalities, movements and associations far beyond traditional sympathisers of his own creed and the CPBM. Benefiting from the experience of the former President of the International Union of Students, Dr Skála has been successfully getting together a wide range of alternative academicians and engaged citizens as a Director of the Institute of the Left, as well as through the associations ‘Which Way to Leave the Crisis’ and ‘Halt Repression and Criminalisation’ of the freedom of speech.

He is also initiate a campaign to award Julian Assange the Nobel Prize for Peace and to prevent his extradition to the USA. Dr Skála belongs to the ranks  of leading figures striving  for the broadest possible political bloc, capable of achieving more secure and just perspectives for our country.

The witch-hunt, orchestrated against him, has been cowardly, attacking the entire alternative to the neo-liberal cynics and war-mongers.Critical reactions to the persecution of Dr Skála go beyond left-wing circles to included signatories of Charter 77, the First Deputy Foreign Minister of a recent Czech government, the organisers of mass rallies against the present government last autumn in the centre of Prague (where Dr Skála had been a regular speaker), prominent academicians, and other personalities and bodies.

This blatant injustice, motivated by political goals, sets a dangerous precedent not only within the Czech Republic. Your open support is urgently needed in the struggle for justice. Dr Skála is ready to appeal the judgment to the Czech Supreme Court, the Czech Constitutional Court, or even to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Your open support for Josef Skála would be highly appreciated.

Support Dr Skála! Let ́s fight together for freedom!
Kateřina Konečná,
President, Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM)"