19 Mar 2012

Czech Doctor Persecuted after Blowing the Whistle

Last year, Dr. Martin Konečný, a doctor at a psychological clinic close to Karlovy Vary, broke patient confidentiality to denounce one of his pacients, a former policewoman convicted for bribery, who had told him that she was negotiating a presidential pardon of her sentence in exchange for a pay-off to President Václav Klaus (pictured here). In a recent interview, he revealed that his effort to expose a corruption case has cost him his job and even led him to move to another town.

Dr. Konečný stated that he faced strong pressure from his clinic to resign even before he denounced the pacient, when he consulted with the clinic’s management about his willigness to report the case. Eventually he decided to resign, but the hospital denies that this was the result of pressure from the management.

After moving away from the Karlovy Vary region and taking a position at another clinic, Dr. Konečný finally filed a criminal complaint about what he had witnessed and brought the case to the press. He was immediately asked to leave the new job by the clinic’s management, and was suddenly contacted by several instutions with inquiries about his tax declarations and finances. Even when he was called in by the police for questioning about the complaint he had filed, the focus of the questions were rather on his motivations and not on the facts that he had reported.

This case is an example of the kind of constraints and resistance that whistleblowers are still faced with in some societies when they decide to bring to light cases of wrongdoing by public authorities.

For additional information, read the article “Czech whistleblower ‘hounded’ over presidential pardon corruption claims” on ceskapozice.cz. The picture portrayed here is also featured in the article.