Antelope Valley Press

Janouch, a Czech nuclear physicist, is dead


PRAGUE (AP) — František Janouch, a Czech nuclear physicist who set up a foundation in Sweden while in exile to support the dissident movement in his communist homeland at the time, has died. He was 92.

The Charter 77 Foundation said Janouch died on Friday morning in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, where he had lived since the 1970s. No details about the cause of his death were given.

Born on Sept. 22, 1931, in the town of Lysa nad Labem near Prague, Janouch studied nuclear physics at Charles University in Prague and at universiti­es in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the then Soviet Union.

As a leading expert in his field, he worked in a senior position at the Nuclear Physics Institute of the Czechoslov­ak Academy of Sciences and was professor at Charles University.

After the 1968 Soviet-led invasion crushed a period of liberal reforms in Czechoslov­akia known as the Prague Spring and the country was taken over by a hard-line communist regime, Janouch was fired from the institute and banned from lecturing.

At the invitation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, he moved to Sweden in 1974. He was stripped of his Czech citizenshi­p and became a Swedish citizen in 1979.

In December 1978, he establishe­d the foundation to support those in Czechoslov­akia who signed the Charter 77 human rights manifesto co-drafted by then dissident Václav Havel.

The signatorie­s of the manifesto faced harsh persecutio­n from communist authoritie­s.

Among its activities, Janouch’s foundation smuggled banned books to Czechoslov­akia, and also equipment that made it possible for dissidents to publish books and other materials by banned authors.

After the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution led by Havel, the foundation moved to Prague and has been involved in various charity and other projects since then.

“František Janouch contribute­d significan­tly to the return of freedom to our country,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said.

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