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Court rules on Šesták ŠtB claims

A COURT has rejected claims by former state secretary Jozef Šesták that he did not collaborate with the communist-era secret police (ŠtB). The ruling in the case Šesták vs. the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) was made by Judge Zlata Mrázková of Bratislava District II Court in December 2008, the Sme daily wrote.

A COURT has rejected claims by former state secretary Jozef Šesták that he did not collaborate with the communist-era secret police (ŠtB). The ruling in the case Šesták vs. the Nation’s Memory Institute (ÚPN) was made by Judge Zlata Mrázková of Bratislava District II Court in December 2008, the Sme daily wrote.

The files of the regional counterintellingence service claim that he worked as an agent, but the court accepted evidence provided by ŠtB agents suggesting that Šesták had never been an agent.

However, the court did not clear Šesták of collaboration with the intelligence service (for which he reportedly worked in the 1970s as a diplomat at the embassy in Washington), as well as the military counterintelligence service, Sme reported.

As a result, the ÚPN has to attach the decision to Šesták’s records. The Institute’s head, Ivan Petranský, said there was no reason to appeal against the decision, and said that the ÚPN will appeal only if the court orders the clearing of the agent's record or payment of damages.

Sme reported that Šesták worked at the Ministry of Foreign Trade between 1970 and 1979, and later as a diplomat. He was a member of the Communist Party, before 1989 working at the Czechoslovak embassy in Washington, DC.

In February 1994, when it was obvious that the-then minority government of Vladimír Mečiar, HZDS chairman, would collapse, he wrote a letter to opposition leaders criticising Mečiar. Shortly afterwards, he was appointed to the position of state secretary by Mečiar. For years, Šesták has claimed he had never collaborated with the ŠtB.

The first record of his cooperation with the intelligence service dates back to 1967.

When the ÚPN received a request to make his file public, the Slovak Intelligence Service in July of 2004 turned to the committee for human rights to keep the file classified. The committee turned the request down.

Jozef Šesták currently works at the Foreign Ministry.

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