Prague - A Czech appeals court Tuesday sentenced an 86-year- old retired prosecutor to six years in prison for her role in the state execution of a Czechoslovak anti-Nazi resistance fighter and democratic politician.
The Higher Court sentenced Ludmila Brozova-Polednova 58 years after she participated in sending Milada Horakova to the gallows on trumped-up charges of treason in a Stalinist-style show trial.
"Should I bear the guilt for everyone who was involved?" CTK news agency cited the former prosecutor as saying after the ruling, which was the first hearing in her case which she attended in person.
The case has been bouncing around courts since last year. A lower court initially sentenced Brozova-Polednova to eight years in prison.
The Higher Court cancelled the verdict, questioning the prosecutor's influence at the time, but the Supreme Court scrapped that ruling and returned the case to the appeals level.
Horakova, a 48-year-old politician and a lawyer by training, was the only woman among the four executed in the show trials of the 1950s in then-Czechoslovakia, despite appeals by Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill.
Horakova was sentenced to death on charges of conspiring to overthrow the communist regime and was hanged in 1950. Many Czech squares and streets now carry her name.
After Czechoslovak communism fell in 1989, the country has struggled to bring to justice people suspected of committing politically-motivated crimes during that era.
A specialized police unit, the Bureau of Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes, has so far prosecuted less than 200 people, of which some 30 were convicted by the courts.
Most of the convicts avoided imprisonment as they are elderly and ill. Brozova-Polednova is also expected not to do jail time.
Earlier this year, a new historical institute focussing on the country's 20th-century totalitarian past opened in Prague, a move preceded by a fierce debate on how best to deal with the painful chapter in the country's history.
The dispute has centred on a question of whether to let the past rest or shed more light on it.
The institute is yet to fulfill its promise to make communist-era intelligence documents, which the state began posting online several years ago, more accessible to the public. (dpa)
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