Trail starts in Slovakia over killing of journalist Jan Kuciak

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Four people go on trial in Slovakia on Thursday over last year’s alleged contract killing of an investigative journalist and his fiancee, a crime that shocked the country and prompted the fall of the government a few weeks later.

Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were killed in their home on Feb. 21, 2018. Slovak authorities said they believed the killings were linked to Kuciak’s work investigating possible widespread government corruption and ties between Slovak politicians and Italian mobsters.

The suspects due to appear in court in the town of Pezinok near the capital, Bratislava, include a Slovak businessman accused of masterminding the double slaying and the alleged hired assassin.

Trial concerning the murder of Jan Kuciak
Marian Kocner (C) looks on at the begining of a preliminary hearing of an indictment before the main trial concerning the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kusnirova in the Judicial Academy building in Pezinok, Slovakia, 19 December 2019. EPA-EFE/JAKUB GAVLAK

A fifth suspect has a deal with the prosecutors to cooperate with them in exchange for a lower sentence. The deal has to be approved by a judge, but that hearing will happen later this month.

Prosecutors claim a total sum of 70,000 euros ($77,800) was paid for the alleged contract slayings. The suspected mastermind, Marian Kocner, is a businessman who had allegedly threatened the journalist following publication of a story about him.

He also allegedly hired Slovak former intelligence officials to carry out surveillance on Kuciak ahead of his killing.

Kuciak had filed a complaint with police in 2017 over the alleged threats. He claimed that police failed to act then. After the slayings, police renewed their investigation of the threats.

More via  AP/The Slovak Spectator

Once you're here...