Karel Vas, 96, prosecutor in communist Czechoslovakia

PRAGUE — Karel Vas, a prosecutor who came to symbolize unlawful trials during the post-1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, has died. He was 96.

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes announced Mr. Vas’s death. Czech television reported Mr. Vas died Saturday in Prague.

He was born in Uzhorod in what is now Ukraine. He joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia at age 17.


During World War II, he moved to the Soviet Union where he began to collaborate with dictator ­Joseph Stalin’s much-feared secret police, known as the NKVD.

Historians say Mr. Vas played a key role in show trials that used fabricated evidence to hand out death sentences to opponents of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.