Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak, who reported on tax frauds with connections to high profile businessmen and government officials, was murdered in his apartment with his girlfriend on February 26. Police suspect the murders are linked to his work.

“We deplore the brutal murder of 27-year-old Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak who was killed together with his girlfriend in an attack suspected to be connected to his work as an investigative journalist,” said European Green co-chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinard Bütikofer. “Europe cannot pretend to be a beacon of free speech in the world when journalists are killed for speaking truth to power.”

They called on the Slovak authorities to show they are committed to defending free speech and ready to crack down hard on attempts to undermine it.

“Words are insufficient to convey the heinous nature of this attack on truth, justice, and transparency.”

In a separate report, The Independent noted that Kuciak’s last story, published on February 9, focused on suspected tax evasion connected to a Bratislava apartment complex with links to the Slovak government.

In a statement, Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska said the perpetrators needed to be found “as soon as possible” to “ensure the safety of all journalists”.

Prime Minister Robert Fico said: “If it is proven that the death of the investigative reporter was connected with his journalistic work, it would be an unprecedented attack on freedom of speech and democracy in Slovakia.”