An ex-soldier has got 23 years jail in Slovakia for shooting dead an investigative journalist and his fiancée. Their murder in 2018 led to national protests and eventually a government downfall.
Slovakia's Specialized Criminal Court on Monday sentenced former soldier Miroslav Marcek to 23 years prison for the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova.
Marcek, who was not present at the sentencing, had in January pleaded guilty to shooting dead 27-year-old Kuciak and Kusnirova at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of the Slovak capital, on February 21, 2018.
Kuciak had reported on corruption and links between businessmen and political, judicial and police figures.
The deaths prompted protests across Slovakia and a crisis culminating in the collapse of its previous government, a coalition led by center-left Smer. This resulted in a general election in February, which was won by rival conservatives.
Still pending are court rulings when trials resume mid-April on three other defendants, including businessman Marian Kocner, who had allegedly threatened the journalist in September 2017.
Prosecutors claimed Kocner paid Marcek a total of €70,000 ($75,500) to carry out a contract killing.
Kocner has pleaded not guilty as did the two others, including a Marcek cousin, charged with being an intermediary in the case.
A fifth suspect, who entered into a deal to cooperate with prosecutors, received a 15-year prison term last December.
ipj/rt (AP, Reuters)