Mock Trial Condemns Czech Baptist Leaders

Oklahoma City Star, volume 29, no. 22  (1953) 
Mock Trial Condemns Czech Baptist Leaders
Mock Trial Condemns
Czech Baptist Leaders

NEW YORK—In a mock trial studded with trumped-up charges of espionage and high treason, four leading personalities of Czechoslovakia’s Baptist Church were condemned to long-term prison sentences, it was learned by the National Committee for A Free Europe.

According to the official Communist newspaper Rude Pravo, Dr. Jindrich Prochazka, former Director of the Baptist College in Prague; Jan Ricar, Chairman of the Brotherly Union of the Baptist Church; Cyril Burget, Secretary of the Baptist Church; and Michal Kejsar, Chairman of the Brotherly Union of Baptists in Slovakia, were tried and convicted of espionage on June 27, 1953 by the Senate of the Regional Court in Pardubice.

Dr. F. Goldsmid, the government’s prosecutor, brought charges of espionage against all four men, treason against Jan Ricar. The prosecution accused the defendants of committing acts of espionage for the past 8 years, and charged that they had been under orders of the World Baptist Union in the U. S. which directed their subversive activities.

As leaders of this alleged espionage conspiracy, the “Kangaroo court” cited Dr. J. Prochazka and J. Ricar, who are said to have organized and initiated the espionage activities. Especially Dr. Prochazka was under fire of the prosecution, because he had spent the war years in the U.S.A., where he was active in the World Baptist Movement and had occasion to meet with its prominent members.

Specifically Dr. Prochazka was charged with having received and carried out orders by Dr. Bell, Johnson and Allbough, which allegedly called for the organization of an espionage network in CSR. Rude Pravo reports from the court proceedings that the activities of the defendants became well known, when Dr. Bell visited Prague in 1946 and openly admitted that all information gathered by his Czechoslovak colleagues would be passed on to the U.S. Government for appropriate action.

Jan Ricar was described in the trial as Dr. Prochazka’s closest collaborator, specializing in gathering information in the industrial Ostrava district. He was charged with recruiting into his espionage ring a White Russian, who under the guise of operating a Baptist orphanage in Bernolakov (Slovakia), supplied Ricar with intelligence information.

Probably the most “damaging” admission by the defendants was the fact that the Baptist Church in Czechoslovakia had received $40,000 from the American Baptist Church over period of several years. This, the prosecution construed to be payment for the alleged espionage activities.

Jan Ricar was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, Dr. Prochazka to 12 years, Burget to 7 and Kejsar to 5 years in prison. All four defendants were deprived of their civil rights and suffered confiscation of their property.

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