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Czech Dissident Icon Jirous Dies At 67


Iconic Czech poet Ivan Martin Jirous, whose quest for free expression under communism earned him nearly a decade in jail and helped inspire the 1989 "Velvet Revolution," has died at the age of 67.

Jirous was the artistic director of the nonconformist rock band Plastic People of the Universe, whose trial for disorderly conduct in 1976 led to the establishment of the Charter 77 dissident movement that gave prominence to future President Vaclav Havel.

Jirous was first imprisoned in 1973-1974 after he ate parts of a Communist Party newspaper while also singing an anti-Russian song in a Prague pub.

In total, he served eight-and-a-half years in jails in the 1970s and 1980s.

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