To the Editors:

Karel Kyncl, a fifty-four-year-old former radio and television journalist and signatory of the unofficial Czechoslovak Human Rights Movement Charter 77, is seriously ill in prison. A supporter of the 1968 Reform Movement, Kyncl was expelled from the Czechoslovak Communist Party in 1969. He was arrested in January 1972 and imprisoned for twenty months for signing a leaflet reminding people of their right to abstain from voting in the national election. At the time, he was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. After his release he underwent a stomach operation and in 1974 was granted a disability pension. Forced from one menial job to another, Kyncl decided to emigrate. In 1980 he was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom, but before being able to leave Czechoslovakia he was arrested on May 6, 1981, together with a number of other Czechoslovak dissenters on charges of subversion “in collusion with a foreign power” and “on a large scale.” He is facing a prison sentence of up to ten years.

Karel Kyncl is in pretrial detention in Prague, at Ruzyne prison, and his condition is said to be very serious. Since his detention he has lost twenty kilograms and is reported to be still losing weight. Following his stomach operation in 1974, only one third of his stomach remains. He suffers from a peptic ulcer and also from chronic inflammation of the kidneys. His condition has steadily deteriorated and he is reported to be in constant pain and vomiting ingested food. Up to December 1981 he was given daily tablets which alleviated his pain, but these have been discontinued under the pretext that their supply was exhausted. He was offered injections instead but these caused him headaches, insomnia, and worsened his vomiting so that he refused to have them. After this refusal to have injections of unspecified drugs he was reportedly made to sign a declaration that he refuses all treatment. Because of the prison authorities neglect of his health, there is a constant danger of further complications in his condition.

Letters of protest can be sent to:

Judr Jan Fejes

Procurator General of the CSSR

Nam Hrdinu 1 300, Praha 4—Nusle


Vezensky Lekar, Prison Doctor

161 02 Praha 6—Ruzyne, Czechoslovakia

Copies should be sent to His Excellency Dr. Jaromir Johanes, The Embassy of Czechoslovakia, 3900 Linnean Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008. Medical professionals are also asked to appeal to the Czechoslovak Medical Association, Spolecnost Ceskoslovenskych Lekaru, Praha 2, Nove Mesto, Sokolska 32, Czechoslovakia.

Barbara Sproul

Amnesty International, New York City

This Issue

April 1, 1982