Czech Pirate Party members Ivan Bartoš, Tomáš Vymazal, Olga Richterová, Petr Třešňák at an April 21 press conference via Flickr / Pirátská strana

Czech Pirate Party joins opposition protest against travel ban

Opposition Pirate senators will join a constitutional complaint about the government decision to ban travel from the Czech Republic

Prague, April 22 (CTK) – The opposition Pirate senators will join a constitutional complaint about the government decision to ban travel from the Czech Republic due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pirates said in a press release today.

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The complaint is drafted by the opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN), their leader Vit Rakusan said, adding that it was signed by ten senators by this morning.

The Pirates have also asked the government to grant exceptions from the ban for fellowships, study stays and cultural and scientific activities abroad.

On Tuesday, senator David Smojlak (for STAN) tweeted that no government should be allowed to treat basic rights so frivolously, closing borders by a simple resolution alone, adding that such a step is unheard of in the European context even during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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“The government must not keep abusing the state of emergency. Instead of logical and efficient measures, one can see unlimited across-the-board bans,” Pirates senator Lukáš Wagenknecht said today.

“Previously, we had closed borders for trips of our citizens under the Communist era. This is not only absurd, but also anti-constitutional. The government restriction lacks any logic and is not sufficiently explained. Hence my support for the prepared constitutional complaint to be filed by Smoljak,” Wagenknecht said.

Rakusan said other senators would join the ten who already signed the petition.

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“Travelling out does not pose any epidemiological risk if there is a compulsory quarantine upon return to the Czech Republic,” he added.

The Pirates also sent an appeal of the Association of Agencies for Long-Term Foreign Stays to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Central Crisis Staff (UKS) head and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček. It demands an exception for students.

“If the conditions are observed, there is no reason to limit the educational stays. Education and foreign experience is a vital pillar to get out of the crisis,” Pirates leader Ivan Bartoš said.

Under the crisis law, the freedom of movement and stay in the territory can be restricted for the time needed and to the necessary extent during the national state of emergency or of a threat to the country.

Under the law, the government is authorized to order the ban on entry, stay and movement of people in the set territory and take measures to protect state borders and on stay of foreigners and persons without state citizenship

Some lawyers have challenged the travel ban as unconstitutional.

Foreign Minister Tomas Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Monday that after the end of the state of emergency in the country, it is possible to restrict the movement of citizens based on the law on the protection of public health, emphasizing that such a step would have to correspond to the situation.

However, constitutional lawyer Marek Antoš told CTK that any ban on travel from the Czech Republic, even though supported by the law on the protection of public health, would be unconstitutional.

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