3 former top Czech communist face misuse of power charges

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PRAGUE (AP) — Czech police are investigating three former Communist leaders who face charges of misuse of power.

Police say the three are former secretary general of the Communist Party Milous Jakes, former Prime Minister Lubomir Strougal and former Prime Minister Vratislav Vajnar.

Police say they are responsible for the deaths of nine people who were killed by border guards while trying to cross the Iron Curtain in the 1970s and 1980s.

Police said Tuesday the three knew about the killings but didn’t do anything to stop it even though Czechoslovakia signed an international treaty that allowed people to leave.

The three, who could face up to 10 years in prison, didn’t immediately comment.

The 1989 Velvet Revolution led by late Vaclav Havel ended 40 years of the communist rule.

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