State must pay high sum to pilot for damaging his career - court |

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State must pay high sum to pilot for damaging his career - court

State must pay high sum to pilot for damaging his career - court

Former Czech army pilot Karel Danhel, a witness in the case of the CASA aircraft purchase, will get a compensation of 312,500 crowns from the National Security Office (NKU) and the Finance Ministry for damaging his professional career, the Prague Municipal Court ruled today.

According to the verdict, which has taken effect, the approved damages will rise by interest for delay. The state offices must also cover Danhel's court proceeding costs.

Danhel sued the Czech Republic for being stripped of his security vetting in 2012, due to which he had also lost his job in the military. He demanded 400,000 crowns in total for other than proprietary damage.

He is convinced that he had to quit the military over his testimony in the case of an allegedly overpriced purchase of the CASA aircraft. He testified in court that the purchase was disadvantageous for the Czech Republic and that politicians and the Defence Ministry officials had pushed it through despite the planes' unsuitable parametres.

The court decided today that the NBU must pay Danhel 240,000 crowns for unlawfully stripping him of a security vetting and the ministry must compensate him with 72,500 crowns for too lengthy administrative and subsequent court proceedings that lasted almost six years.

Danhel joined the military in 1990 and he gradually became one of the youngest lieutenant colonels in the air force. He served in the mission in Afghanistan and received positive assessments from his commanders.

He was dismissed from the military after 22 years, since he was stripped of the security clearance. He claims that he was to be promoted to the rank of colonel shortly before.

The NBU insists that it stripped Danhel of the vetting over a security risk since Danhel has long worked against the Czech Republic's interests in the economy and defence spheres, which the pilot denied. The NKU called the required compensation disproportionate.

Danhel points out that the NKU accepted his expert opinion on the CASA aircraft when it found out some shortcomings. Danhel said in the past that he had faced threats over his testimony in the CASA case.

He also connects his testimony with the charges of sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl he faced, but was acquitted. He could be sentenced up to ten years in prison if convicted. The military intelligence service (VZ) was behind his prosecution, he said.

($1=23.499 crowns)

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