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Swiss Reporter Beaten by Czech Cops

November 4, 1999

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ A Swiss reporter was beaten up by Czech police while covering a demonstration, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The daily Pravo said that Heinz Moll, a reporter for eight Swiss and German newspapers, was brutally beaten and detained by police during an anarchist demonstration in Prague last week.

In Bern, Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Livio Zanolari confirmed that the incident led to an intervention from the Swiss Embassy in Prague.

``I was beaten, strangled until I almost lost consciousness several times, kicked in my legs and beaten with a truncheon over my back,″ Pravo quoted Moll as saying. ``Then I was held by the police for eight hours, without any reason.″

Moll also said police seized the film from his camera.

Pravo said the Interior Ministry started investigating the case after the Swiss Embassy requested an explanation of the incident.

Police spokeswoman Ivana Zelenakova on Thursday confirmed Moll had officially complained about the incident.

``The reporter was detained because he did not comply with the police call on the protesters to disperse,″ Zelenakova said, adding that officials of the Interior Ministry were investigating whether police acted correctly.

In Bern, Zanolari, the spokesman, said Moll was given a passport stamp which said he had to leave the country within a week.

``Thanks to the intervention of the Swiss Embassy in Prague, the expulsion was reversed,″ the Swiss spokesman said.

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