New Czech Police draft act allows taking DNA samples by force

7. 6. 2007 | 12:52

The Czech Senate, upper chamber of the Parliament, approved on 25 May 2006 the amendment of the Criminal Proceedings Code and Police Act, which empowers police officers to take DNA samples and other identification samples as fingerprints. According to the draft police can take the DNA samples even by using force in case of resistance. Currently, a person may refuse to provide the saliva sample, which could result only in aprocedural fine of maximum 2800 Eur. The new amendment foresees that the DNA samples can be taken from people suspected, charged, accused, sentenced or in execution of protective measures. The amendment also contains provisions authorizing massive DNA sampling from all people that are imprisoned for wilful crimes. This purposed measure will concern approximately 12 000 people. Due to the necessary financial resources for processing the DNA samples into DNA profile, there is going to be a substantial delay in this activity. It means in fact, that the police will hold complete DNA`s of thousands of detainees for an unknown period. There is a standard that requires the destruction of the original sample, after the DNA has been processed into the profile. EDRi-member Iuridicum Remedium elaborated a paper with an overview of the risks of the new law. The draft paper was disseminated and distributed to the lawmakers. However, the bill was passed surprisingly easyly in both Parliament chambers, after an intensive lobby of the Police Forensic Institute, the institution that manages the National DNA Database. Despite highlighting the human rights risks of the amendment, the bill was supported by 43 of the 49 present senators. Only some senators expressed their doubts about broadening police powers without appropriate safeguards for the rights of the concerned persons. The bill is waiting to be signed by the President of the Republic. In case he does not sign it, the law will not enter into force, because the lower chamber does not have the opportunity to take a vote on it, since it is dissolved due to elections. Legislative process of the amendment to the Police Act (in Czech only) http://www.psp.cz/sqw/historie.sqw?o=4&T=1024 Comments from Iuridicum Remedium on the draft act (in Czech only, 15.05.2006) http://www.iure.org/570359 Police will be able to forcibly take DNA sample from detained persons (in Czech only, 25.05 2006) http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/vyhledavani/index_view.php?id=190180 (Contribution by Helena Svatosová - EDRI-member Iuridicum Remedium - Czech Republic)

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