European Interest

Slain Slovak reporter was targeted, says prosecutor

Flickr/Peter Tkac/CC BY-SA 2.0
Demonstration in memory of murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, Bratislava, March 2, 2018.

The slain Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was targeted. Slovak Prosecutor General Jaromir Ciznar said on May 9 in Bratislava that investigators were almost certain that the “attack was directed exclusively at him”.

The reporter was murdered in February as he was about to publish an explosive report probing alleged high-level corruption was specifically targeted. His fiancée Martina Kusnirova was also gunned down in their home outside Bratislava.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), a Slovak prosecutor who spoke to journalists in March on condition of anonymity revealed that Kusnirova had been “shot once in the head” while Kuciak “was hit by two shots to the heart”. Nothing had been stolen, they added.

The murders and Kuciak’s last explosive report raised fresh concern about media freedom and corruption, plunging Slovakia, an EU member of 5.4m people, into deep crisis.

Weekly mass protests in the capital Bratislava and other towns forced the government to resign in March.

But the new government retains most of the members of the previous administration of Robert Fico, a populist, whose close ally Peter Pellegrini is now prime minister.

According to AFP, analysts believe Fico is still calling the shots from behind the scenes as he remains chairman of the governing Smer-SD party.

In a separate report, The Slovak Spectator noted that dissatisfaction of voters with the current ruling coalition. A poll conducted by the Focus agency for the Denník N daily found that Slovaks are split about whether they want early elections. The findings show that 44.7% want early elections, while 47.6% said they do not support such option.

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