Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Eugen Brikcius



Disturbing the Peace (Incl. Breaching Public Order)


8-12 months

Years Imprisoned:


Year Crime:


Year Convicted:


Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

Czech Republic

County or Region of Crime:

City of Crime:



Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Ivan Martin Jirous 'Magor', Eugen Brikcius, Jaroslav Ko?án and Ji?í Daní?ek were co-defendants. On July 28, 1973 the four men were singing songs against Russians and Communists in a Prague pub. One of the songs described driving the Russians to hell where they belong. A captain in the Czech secret police (StB) was in the pub and he called the police Jirous was a poet and leader of the Plastic People of the Universe, a nonconformist rock band banned by the communist regime, and the other three were literary rebels and leaders of the underground movement against the communist regime. The four men were arrested and charged with defamation of the Soviet Union and hooliganism (disturbing the peace). The four defendants were convicted of hooliganism. Jirous, 29, was sentenced to ten months and his psychiatric treatment was ordered. The other three defendants were sentenced to 8 to 12 months in prison. On June 22, 2011 the Czech Supreme Court quashed the 38-year-old convictions on the basis that the convictions were contrary to the law in 1973 because singing songs did not merit being regarded as a serious disturbance and threat to the public, the communist judges were influenced by the ruling regime, and that the song about Russians was an expression of frustration with the Soviet occupation, rather than defamation of the Russian nation. With their convictions quashed, the four can seek compensation from the Justice Ministry. Jirous was 67 at the time of his exoneration. After they completed their sentences, Jirous continued to stand up to Czechoslovakia's communist regime and spent another seven and a half years in prison, during which time he wrote one of his most acclaimed books of poetry. Eugen Brikcius left Czechoslovakia and settled in Vienna. Ji?í Daní?ek, who worked as a manual labourer until the fall of communism, later founded a publishing house and is now the head of the Czech Jewish communities’ federation. Jaroslav Ko?án, who translated Kurt Vonnegut, William Saroyan and other authors into Czech, eventually became Prague’s first post-communist mayor."

Conviction Caused By:

Erroneous application of the hooliganism law to the singing by the defendants.

Innocence Proved By:

"On June 22, 2011 the Czech Supreme Court quashed the 38-year-old convictions."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

Age When Released:




Information Source 1:

"Czech court quashes communist conviction of Plastic People member, By Chris Johnstone (staff), Czechposition.com, June 22, 2011"

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Information Source 2:

"Czech Supreme court cancels 1973 prison terms for 4 people for singing anti-communist song, Associated Press story, June 22, 2011"

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Information Source 3:

"Top court cancels 1973 verdict that sent four writers to jail for anti-Soviet song, By Jan Richter, Radio Praha, June 22, 2011"

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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