credit: Freepik

Former Health Minister Rath Released From Prison

On his release, Rath will now take up a position as patients’ ombudsman for the Czech Republic. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, May 18 (CTK) – Former Central Bohemia regional governor, ex-MP and former health minister David Rath was on Tuesday released from the prison in Brno where he was serving a sentence for corruption from early January, his defence lawyer Roman Jelinek told CTK today.

57-year-old Rath had to return to prison, having previously served half of his original seven-year sentence in the first branch of the corruption case, as he was found guilty in the second branch last June, and the court extended his prison term by a year.

According to the verdict, Rath, a medical doctor by profession, accepted bribes and manipulated tenders in the Central Bohemian Region.

“Last Thursday, the Brno Municipal Court decided to release him. The public prosecutor kept the deadline for filing a complaint, which expired on Monday,” Jelinek said.

Rath was therefore released the following day.

In the first branch of his corruption case, Rath, a Social Democrat MP (2006-2012), Central Bohemia governor (2008-2012) and health minister (2005-2006), was given seven years in prison, a fine of CZK 10 million, and a disqualification order, for unlawfully influencing tenders for the reconstruction of the Bustehrad mansion near Prague.

He was released from prison on probation after 3.5 years in January 2021, halfway through his sentence. However, last June he was found guilty in another branch of the case; the appeals court extended his previous sentence by one year and he had to return to prison.

Along with Rath, former Kladno hospital director Katerina Kottova and her husband, former MP Petr Kott, were the main figures convicted in the case, as in the first one. According to the indictment, they fixed bribes in late 2011 and early 2012 for manipulating tenders worth hundreds of millions of crowns in the Central Bohemia Region. The Kotts also saw their prison sentences extended to eight years.

Besides that, a further six people and nine firms were charged in the case, including the Metrostav construction firm and its former general director Pavel Pilat. The court sent Lucie Novanska and Pavel Drazdansky to prison and imposed suspended sentences on the rest of the defendants.

Rath, the Kotts, Metrostav and Prosecutor General Igor Striz filed a petition for an appellate review with the Supreme Court that would review the verdict in the second branch of the corruption case.

On his release, Rath will now take up a position as patients’ ombudsman for the Czech Republic, appointed by the Czech Patients’ Association. He became the patients’ ombudsman for Prague and the Central Bohemian Region in January 2022, shortly after his release from prison on parole, and the association has now decided to extend his scope of work to the whole country, according to Lubos Olejar, president of the Patients’ Association.

Rath said that he will not receive financial remuneration for this work. He will also work as a doctor in his surgery in Hostivice, central Bohemia, and at the healthcare centre in the Brno prison, where he worked as a doctor while serving his sentence.

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