The Czech supreme public prosecutor has ordered a criminal investigation into the decision by former justice minister Pavel Němec to allow Qatari prince Hamid Bin Abdul Sani al-Thani to return to his homeland. The prince was found guilty in 2005 of having paid for sex with 16 minors, four of whom were under the age of consent, and sentenced to 30 months in prison. Upon his controversial return to Qatar, al-Thani was held for days then released on bail.
Supreme Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Štěpánka Zenková was cited by the news server tyden.cz as saying the Czech police had been ordered to investigate “the actions of various persons” from the justice ministry and courts. “We have received an order for criminal proceedings to be launched,” the state prosecutor for Prague 7, Jiřina Fronková, confirmed.
Courts vs. Justice Minister
In May 2005, the district court in Prague 2 sentenced al-Thani to two and a half years despite the fact that then-justice minister ‘I took the decision as a gesture of goodwill in the effort to secure a future reciprocity towards citizens of the Czech Republic.’Pavel Němec (Christian Democrats, KDU-ČSL) had decided to hand him over to the Qatari authorities several days after he was officially prosecuted. The district court in Prague 2 and subsequently the court of higher instance, the Municipal Court in Prague, ruled that Němec’s decision was invalid. However, the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic overturned the previous decisions and allowed the extradition of al-Thani in August 2005.
“I took the decision as a gesture of goodwill in the effort to secure a future reciprocity towards citizens of the Czech Republic who may get into difficulties in that land, However, my efforts were to a large extent thwarted by illegal obstruction by the courts,” Němec told Czech position in an e-mail in defense of his decision. He also claims the courts in Prague acted illegally.
“The courts’ disrespect of the decision by the Czech Ministry of Justice to pass the criminal case to Qatar was clear despotism. The unwarranted detention (form the moment of the decision by the ministry to the moment of release from detention by the Supreme Court) amounted to illegal imprisonment, even though it was enforced with a court stamp,” Němec said.
“Probably the only comparison that could be made is if the judiciary continued criminal proceedings or continued to enforce a sentence after the president had issued a pardon,” the former justice minister added.
In 2007 the Qatari authorities officially closed the case. Upon examining the Qatari judiciary’s documentation of the case, the Czech judiciary discovered that al-Thani had in fact not been charged by the authorities in his homeland. The Municipal Court in Prague therefore decided to reopen the case against the prince.
International arrest warrant
As of the end of 2009, the Czech Ministry of Justice made repeated attempts to deliver a court summons to al-Thani. The Czech The prince employed three Czech women to procure girls with an offer of Kč 2,000 for sex. The women were paid Kč 1,000 for each girl they procured.Ambassador to Kuwait reportedly urged the Qatari authorities to act but to no avail. Therefore, at the beginning of this year the Municipal Court in Prague issued an international arrest warrant for al-Thani.
Al-Thani spent a total of 340 days in prison in the Czech Republic. His demand for compensation of Kč 250,000 from the Czech state for his time behind bars was rejected. Undeterred, the prince then filed a compensation claim with the district court in Prague 2.
Al-Thani had lived in the Czech Republic for around 10 years. The prince allegedly paid three Czech women to procure young girls for him, with offer of Kč 2,000 for sex. The women were paid Kč 1,000 for each girl they brought to him.
There are unsubstantiated claims in the Czech legal community that Němec received a substantial cash payment from the Qatari royal family for securing the extradition of al-Thani. He denied even having ever been in contact with them. “I have don’t have and never had any relations with the ruling family of Qatar, I’ve never been to Qatar and I don’t know anyone there,” Němec told Czech Position.