The case of three Czechs who have been accused of spying in Zambia may be closed soon and they might return to the Czech Republic within three weeks, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Monday, referring to their defence lawyer.
The lawyer has recently met the Zambian president over the case.
According to LN, the Zambian high court is to open the case this week, after which the prosecutor would withdraw the accusations.
“The high court will include the case in its current agenda and the public prosecutor may withdraw the charges. Now it is more probable than before that this will really happen,” Ludek Zahradnicek, Czech ambassador to Zimbabwe who also represents Prague in Zambia, has written to LN.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has welcomed the latest developments in the case.
“This is a moment when legal steps can be finally taken,” ministry spokesman Vit Kolar told LN.
“Unlike Czech and Zambian authorities, our lawyer does not only promise things but he is really acting. He told us that the chance [of the Czechs being released] is great this time,” one of the accused, Jiri Coufal, told LN.
The Zambian prosecutor has been for the Czechs’ release from the very beginning. He has repeatedly promised them to withdraw the charges. The Zambian police, nevertheless, insist on them being tried. This would considerably prolong their involuntary stay in Zambia, the paper writes.
A fortnight ago, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg attempted to contact his Zambian counterpart over the case. However, the Zambian foreign minister was too busy then, therefore a new date of their conversation was set.
This chance has failed as well. “The Zambian minister cancelled his programme for health reasons,” Kolar told LN.
The Czechs have been in Zambia since mid-October. The military police detained them after they photographed various buildings and a plane at the airport during their tourist trip.
Czech News Agency