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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 March, 2003, 14:03 GMT
Czech informers' names published
Demonstration for political change in 1989
The Velvet Revolution ended the informer culture
The Czech Republic has posted on the internet a list of people who collaborated with the secret police under the former Communist government.

The list, which is said to contain over 100,000 names, is also available free of charge in printed form - 12 volumes with a combined weight of eight kilogrammes.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Marie Masarikova said the ministry's website - where the list has been published - was getting four times as many visitors than usual.

The Czech parliament passed a law last year requiring the full public disclosure of the names of informants.

Complex network

The StB used a complex network of spies and informants to build cases against supposed dissidents.

It is thought to have carried out more than 230 executions, jailed about 280,000 people on political charges, and confined around 7,000 people in mental institutions against their will.

A list of the names of about 160,000 alleged collaborators was made public over a decade ago by the former dissident and political prisoner, Petr Cibulka, who said he received them from a source with access to StB records.

The veracity of the Cibulka lists, as they are known, has never been confirmed or refuted by the government.

However, correspondents say it is unlikely that the official lists will yield many surprises.

Painful process

The disclosure of hundreds of thousands of names of alleged collaborators has been fiercely debated.

People named on the Cibulka lists have protested that they have been unfairly smeared or denied the space to respond to suspicions.

Many Czechs are not certain they want to know exactly who informed - and risk finding that the names include friends or family.

The new lists do not usually indicate the nature of the collaboration, and so are not a comprehensive disclosure of the individual's involvement with the secret police.

Relatively few full personal files have been made available to collaborators or their victims.

Several individuals on the lists have subsequently been cleared of charges; in these cases, an explanatory note will be attached to entries.

But individual attempts to be deleted from the lists have been turned down.

Country profile: Czech Republic
03 Mar 03 |  Country profiles
Czech communists go on trial
03 Dec 01 |  Europe

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