Amnesty in Czech state triggers man's release


A 40-year-old man due to be extradited to the Czech Republic has been released from prison after authorities in that country said they no longer wished to prosecute him.

Yesterday Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh ordered the immediate release of Alexandr Malik from Cloverhill Prison where he had been awaiting extradition to his native Czech Republic, where he was wanted in connection with an alleged fraud.

The court heard that as a result of Czech president Václav Klaus’s amnesty to a third of that country’s prisoners, authorities there were no longer seeking Mr Malik’s surrender.

The judge said the Irish State had spent “significant resources” complying with the request of the Czech authorities. However, this was now a matter for the Irish and Czech authorities, he added.

Mr Malik, a Czech citizen who had been living in the Republic for some years, had been convicted in his absence by a Czech court on a charge relating to loan fraud in 2008. He was sentenced to two years and was due to be retried.

He was arrested here last May but opposed the extradition request. However, his surrender was ordered by the High Court late last month.

Yesterday lawyers for the State, who applied for the order to have Mr Malik released from Cloverhill, said he was one of the people to whom the amnesty applied.

Mr Klaus announced the amnesty in a new year’s message last week as a gesture to mark 20 years of the Czech Republic’s independence. It applies to some 7,000 prisoners or those awaiting trial in the Czech Republic. Anyone serving relatively short terms became eligible for release, as well as all prisoners over 75, provided their sentence was less than 10 years.