Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe Being Held in Historic Pankrac Prison
Due to Randy Blythe‘s month-long incarceration in the Czech Republic, an incredible amount of attention has been placed on not only the Czech Republic itself, but also its legal system. Awaiting a ruling on whether Blythe’s bail will be approved after it was contested a second time by a Czech prosecutor, the Lamb of God vocalist remains in Pankrac Prison. Although this news has become well-known, the lesser-known, yet incredibly violent history of where Blythe finds himself caged, is disturbingly fascinating in its own right.
Pankrac Prison is well over 100 years old, having been constructed in 1885-1889. The prison has the capacity to hold 858 prisoners and holds only males. The facility holds an average of three beds per cell, although other cells hold up to 10 beds.
The prison was used by Nazi soldiers during Germany’s 1939-1945 occupation of Czechoslovakia in World War II. The Nazi party detained thousands of people in the prison, beheading 1,079 people by guillotine in three separate chambers.
As documented by CBS’s Virginian station WTVR, Pankrac prison has served as the unfortunate home for various creative minds. Uzbekistan poet, writer and political activist Muhammad Salih, like Blythe, was arrested and sent to Pankrac Prison upon his arrival at Prague airport in 2001. Salih was arrested for his open opposition to Uzbekistan’s one-party system.
Many supporters of Blythe have been critical of the mainstream media here in the U.S. for not giving the Lamb of God vocalist the appropriate amount of coverage — and for good reason. New York Times columnist Peter S. Green called for the release of Muhammad Salih in a December 2001 article. The office of Czech President Vaclav Havel, who had once spent time in Pankrac Prison, was flooded by supporters demanding the release of Salih, who was soon set free and acquitted of all charges.
As Randy Blythe is admired both as a musician and lyrical poet, this begs the question: Would pressure brought on by the American media serve to aid Blythe’s release as it did for Muhammad Salih?
Watch WTVR’s Report on Randy Blythe and Pankrac Prison