Miroslav Stepan, hard-line communist leader, dies

March 23, 2014

PRAGUE (AP) — Miroslav Stepan, a hard line communist leader who was punished for brutal crackdowns on the anti-communist opposition in Czechoslovakia has died at age 68.

The local CTK news agency, citing a family friend, says Stepan died Sunday.

As the most powerful communist in Prague, Stepan was believed to be responsible for use of force against peaceful opposition protests in 1988 and ’89, including the Sept 17, 1989 student rally that triggered the Velvet Revolution led by Vaclav Havel that ended more than 40 years of communist rule.

After the fall of communism, Stepan was convicted of misuse of power and sentenced to 2½ years in prison.

Following his release, Stepan unsuccessfully trying to return to politics as leader of fringe far-left parties.

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