Slovakia releases suspects held for journalist’s murder

Slovakia releases suspects held for journalist’s murder
Participants hold a banner reading: “Attack on journalists” as they march in honor of murdered Slovak investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova in Bratislava, Slovakia,on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 04 March 2018

Slovakia releases suspects held for journalist’s murder

Slovakia releases suspects held for journalist’s murder

PRAGUE: Slovak authorities released at least six of the seven people detained in connection with the murder of an investigative journalist, a news website reported on Saturday.
The seventh person is also expected to be released, www.tvnoviny.sk reported.
Slovak police detained the suspects on Thursday in an investigation into the murder of Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend who were found shot dead in their home last weekend.
Their release came after thousands flocked to candlelit anti-corruption protests and memorials held across Slovakia for the murdered journalist on Friday.
Organizers estimated that around 25,000 people gathered in the capital Bratislava, while thousands showed in a dozen other cities and towns across the EU country of 5.4 million people.
Police found the two 27-year-olds shot dead at their home near the capital Bratislava last Sunday.
Kuciak was about to publish an article that raised possible political links between Italian businessmen operating in Slovakia and Calabria’s notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia.
“We live in a mafia state,” student Jan Kubis told AFP. “They were not much older than I am. Something must change in Slovakia.”
Slovak police on Thursday detained several Italian businessmen named by Kuciak in his explosive report, which was published posthumously earlier this week, as investigators said his death was “most likely” linked to his reporting.
“On Monday morning, my colleagues had tears, anger and fear in their eyes, and journalists were happy to show their determination to work further,” Lukas Fila, director of N Press publishers, told protesters.
“We have to show that the public will insist on investigating this tragedy.”
Beata Baloghova, editor-in-chief Slovakia’s leading SME broadsheet daily, called the murder “an attack on our ability to control politicians.”
Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) secretary-general said that “tonight Bratislava is the world capital of press freedom,” after having held talks with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico earlier in the day.
Deloire told AFP he had asked Fico, a leftist who does not shy away from using populist rhetoric, to “clearly express his regrets” for having publicly insulted journalists, something the RSF chief called “dangerous.”
Fico’s office later issued a statement saying that there was “no call on the PM to apologize to journalists,” denying Deloire’s claim.
Contacted by AFP, Harlem Desir, the Freedom of the Media representative at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said he “can confirm” that Deloire had called on Fico to apologize to journalists.
Desir, who met Fico alongside Deloire earlier Friday in Bratislava, also insisted that the “masterminds behind this crime” must be brought to justice.