Activists from the Free Choice civil association protested outside parliament against the draft of the new Penal Code which introduces much stricter sentences for possessing and selling narcotics, news wire SITA reported.
Free Choice is in favour of decriminalising the possession of marihuana, and claim that people should have a choice whether or not to take soft drugs.
Its representative, Kika Kostková, said criminal law does not sufficiently distinguish between a drug user and a drug dealer, and ignores the principle of fairness of sanctions.
She pointed out that one could be sentenced from four to ten years in prison for even possessing soft drugs. Such legal penalties would thus rank with criminal acts of causing serious bodily harm, child abandonment, blackmail, the possession of weapons of mass destruction, and child trafficking.
However, Beata Brestenská, deputy of the Alliance of a New Citizen (ANO) countered that marihuana users should necessarily be penalised.
Peter Body, of the Free Forum (SF), proposes distinguishing in law between the term soft and hard drugs. In his view he considers punishments for drug dealers and drug users, as proposed by the Justice Ministry, as adequate.
František Mikloško of the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) agrees with prison sentences proposed in the new Criminal Code, arguing that at the beginning of democracy one has to be cautious to the point of strictness, so that matters of social concern do not get out of control. He does not reject further discussion on this topic.
Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
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8. Sep 2004 at 18:30