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Slovakia charges four with journalist's murder

September 28, 2018

The murder of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak sparked mass protests across Slovakia, forcing the departure of the then prime minister. The murder case has also put a spotlight on the role of Slovak police.

Slovaks celebrate the resignation of Prime Minister Robert Fico and his government as a way out of the political crisis triggered by the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/D. Voijnovic

A court in Slovakia on Sunday ordered four people charged with the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, to be kept in jail until their trial.

Three of the suspects were among eight people detained in a house raid on Thursday morning. The fourth suspect was arrested separately on Friday. Five others have been released, the prosecutor's office said.

Police said a former investigator and former soldier are among the perpetrators, according to The Slovak Spectator newspaper. It is not yet clear when they will face trial.

The killings sparked massive protests that forced the resignations of then Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, as well as Slovak police chief Tibor Gaspar.

Read moreAfter Jan Kuciak, killing journalists now 'within realm of possibility'

Crisis over journalist's murder in Slovakia

Government-mafia nexus

Kuciak and his fiancee were gunned down in February in an attack that Slovak authorities say was likely tied to his reporting on widespread government corruption and ties between politicians and Italian gangsters.

His final story, which was published after his death, exposed links between Slovak officials, mainly from the ruling SMER party, and Italian families with connections to the Calabrian mafia.

The case, which has dragged on for months, has also cast a spotlight on the role of the Slovak police: They have been accused of destroying evidence, lack of transparency and inappropriately investigating Kuciak's peers.

ap/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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