GIBS spokeswoman Ivana Nguyen published the office’s position on the website. She responded to the open letter of the editor-in-chief of the paper, Robert Čásenský, who objected to the GIBS procedure and called it unacceptable coercion. Kmenta also repeated that he considers the actions of GIBS a form of pressure and an attempt to discourage him from journalistic work.
Last month, Kmenta wrote an article Crimes in IKEM, in which he also criticized the role of GIBS in the case. The High Commissioner of GIBS called on him to provide him with the documents he relies on in the article, otherwise he could face a fine of up to 50,000 crowns and confiscation of the documents.
Čásenský reminded in the letter that the publisher, not the author, is responsible for the content of the publication, but GIBS turned directly to Kmenta.
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According to him, this procedure creates a clear impression of pressure from GIBS on the author of the text. In addition, the investigator requests materials that he believes he can obtain otherwise. Kmenta decided not to release the documents to the inspection.
In its opinion, GIBS stated that Kmenta describes documents in the article, which, however, do not seem to correspond to those that the inspectorate secured during house searches, nor is it clear what specific documents they are. Due to the fact that the documents are supposed to be available to Kmenta, the call to issue them was addressed directly to him.
‘GIBS off the chain’
“The summons to release the case is a standard legal procedure that is used in these cases regardless of the person of the addressee, and a necessary part of which is instruction on the possible consequences of non-compliance,” stated GIBS.
According to the inspection, the requested information does not in any way threaten the freedom of the press, expression and dissemination of information or the right to protect the source. Kmenta can refuse cooperation and, in case of doubts about the regularity of the GIBS procedure, turn to the supervising public prosecutor or the public prosecutor’s office superior to him.
On Thursday, Kmenta called GIBS’s approach a coercive action. “I had no idea that under the government of the ‘democratic Pěticoalice’ and Petr Fiala, I would experience the same coercive actions as during the era of Andrej Babiš. GIBS off the chain,” said an editor on the X network.
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Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) subsequently objected to his statement. Government spokesman Václav Smolka emphasized that the activities of GIBS are not managed or directed by the government or its chairman, and the investigation of criminal activity and any interference in this matter do not belong to politicians.
Kmenta made a similar statement on Friday. “The latest GIBS position on their call for the release of documents from the IKEM case confirms to me that this is pressure on my person and journalistic work,” he wrote in a sent statement.
He also disputed some of the inspection’s arguments. According to Kmenta, it is not true that GIBS cannot obtain documents other than from him. “He can call for the release of things directly involved and not do so towards the media. If the editors were able to get some documents, why doesn’t the state office get them, if it really is worth it?” he added.
At the beginning of October, the police charged former IKEM director Michal Stibork and his deputy Jiří Malý with blackmail. According to the police, Stiborek and Malý exerted pressure on cardiac surgeon Jan Pirek and the head of the IKEM Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic, Ivan Netuka. Together with him, the head of the IT department, Petr Raška, was charged with unauthorized access to the computer system and violation of the confidentiality of documents.
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