Academics reject awards

Five top academics have refused to accept medals from the country's most prestigious university because they say other people receiving them were connected to the harsh and reactionary 'normalisation' policy carried out by the communist regime in the 1970s.

Anton Heretik, Eduard Krekovič, Brano Hochel, Valér Mikula and Soňa Szomolány wrote a letter to Comenius University refusing the awards, connected with the celebration of 80 years of the university's arts and science faculty.

They said that of the 100 people receiving the awards, a number had been involved in what through the 1970s was a brutal response to the 1968 Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia.

"The politically motivated decisions of these people led to a human tragedy we can never repair. We can only take these awards as a gesture of disrespect against their victims," the professors said.

Faculty heads have denied that anyone receiving the prizes was connected to the normalisation policy.

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