Czech Woman Accused of Murdering Husband In Tunisia May Be Tried In Czech Republic
Tunisia may transfer the criminal proceedings against a Czech tourist accused of murdering her husband to the Czech Republic, under an existing bilateral treaty. The Czech Justice Ministry told CTK the Tunisian authorities have indicated a readiness to look into this option.
The Czech ministry is seeking the transfer of the prosecution, but has stressed that, given the location of the crime, it is up to the Tunisian authorities to determine the further course of proceedings.
A 50-year-old woman from Ostrava is accused of murdering her 60-year-old husband in Tunisia in July. The victim was also Czech, and the couple had been on holiday in Tunisia, where the man was found dead and an autopsy revealed strangulation marks on his neck. The Tunisian police arrested his wife and the court sent her into custody.
The Czech Ministry of Justice is cooperating with the General State Prosecutor’s Office and the Foreign Ministry on the case. “Through our embassy in Tunis, we have communicated to the Tunisian side our interest in a speedy solution, especially with regard to the human rights aspect of the case, the difficult conditions of detention in the country, the cultural and language barrier and the overall circumstances of the case,” said Justice Ministry spokesman Vladimir Repka.
“Negotiations regarding the possibility of taking our citizen back to the Czech Republic are still underway,” said Repka. “Currently, we have a very preliminary statement from the Tunisian side, which shows readiness to deal with the possibility of transferring criminal proceedings to the Czech Republic based on Article 48 of the bilateral treaty between the Czech Republic and Tunisia, which is also our priority.”
“A final decision cannot be expected for several months and will depend on the course of the ongoing criminal proceedings in Tunisia,” he added.
The bilateral treaty on legal assistance was signed by representatives of Czechoslovakia and Tunisia in 1979 and came into force two years later. Its Article 48 is titled “request to take over the prosecution” and stipulates that one state starts prosecuting its citizens who committed criminal acts in the territory of the other state, if the other state asks it through diplomatic channels to take over the prosecution.
In the case in question, North Moravian police have also initiated criminal proceedings on suspicion of murder, which enabled them to carry out an autopsy on the dead man. The Czech police are doing so precisely in case the Tunisian side decide to refer the case to the Czech Republic for criminal proceedings.
News server Blesk.cz, citing a spokesman for the Tunisian court, earlier reported that the Czech woman had confessed to the crime. According to the server, Tunisian investigators are accusing the woman of premeditated murder, specifically that she planned the act before she went on holiday. The tourist initially claimed that she discovered her husband dead in their hotel room after she returned from a pedicure.