Court rehabilitates unjustly imprisoned General Milan Pika |

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Court rehabilitates unjustly imprisoned General Milan Pika

Court rehabilitates unjustly imprisoned General Milan Pika

The Prague Municipal Court today rehabilitated General Milan Pika over his unjust imprisonment by the communist regime in the late 1940s, with the judge saying this was the only possible reaction to the wrongs inflicted on Pika by the communists.

The Communist regime accused Pika of planning the abduction of his father, the eventually executed General Heliodor Pika, from prison. Milan Pika spent three months in jail.

The judge, Helena Kutzlerova, arrived at the conclusion that Pika had been imprisoned unjustly, which is why she met the proposal for his rehabilitation.

The proposal was submitted by Milan Pika's daughter Dagmar Sedlackova after his death this spring. Before the court, she was represented by lawyer Lubomir Muller, who specialises in the cases of people unjustly persecuted by the state.

The state attorney, on his part, identified with Sedlackova's argument that her father's imprisonment was unlawful and that he should be granted court rehabilitation.

Milan Pika, one of the Czech officers who served with the British RAF in wartime, was taken into custody by the Czechoslovak Communists in November 1948 and charged with planning the abduction of his jailed father. In February 1949, the court acquitted and released him due to a lack of evidence.

However, Pika was expelled from university, where he was studying law, and also from the army, and was persecuted by the communist authorities. He moved to Slovakia, where he died on March 20, 2019, aged 97.

In 1970, Pika was rehabilitated morally and he was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1990. In 2014, the then Slovak president Ivan Gasparovic, together with Czech President Milos Zeman, jointly promoted him to the rank of brigadier general. Pika thus became the only general of two armies - the Czech and Slovak ones.

His father, Heliodor Pika, was sentenced to death in a communist show trial and was executed on June 21, 1949, aged 51.

For many years in his life, Milan struggled for the rehabilitation of his father and other executed or jailed patriots and officers.

Galina Vasova, the daughter of the late communist prosecutor Karel Vas, who imposed the death penalty on Heliodor Pika in 1949, appeared in the courtroom today to support Milan's rehabilitation.

"I consider this my duty, so that justice can prevail," Vasova said and publicly apologised for her father's deeds.

Historian Pavel Palecek, who was also present in the courtroom, recalled that Vas originally proposed the death penalty for not only Heliodor but also Milan Pika.

"Intervening in the case, (then Communist leader and president) Klement Gottwald said we would not hang the children of those hanged," Palecek said, explaining Milan's release from prison.

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