Supporting People who Speak Out

Former Soldier Admits Killing Slovakian Journalist, Fiancee

A former soldier admitted to killing investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova in a Slovakian court. Two other defendants, including a businessman, charged with ordering the murder pleaded innocent in a case that rocked the country.
“I am guilty”, Miroslav Marcek told the court when the presiding judge asked the four defendants to make statements on the charges presented by the prosecutor, according to news agency Reuters. The crime that had occurred in early 2018 was followed brought mass protests, eventually bringing down the government of Premier Robert Fico.
Marcek told the Special Criminal Court in Pezinok, north of the capital Bratislava, that he accepted guilt, an admission that could reduce his sentence from potential life imprisonment.
The murders came four months after Malta investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb as she – like Kuciak – was investigating corruption at the highest levels of government. Her death just recently forced Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign.
Several senior justice officials in Slovakia quit after investigations revealed they had been in contact with Kocner, who was the subject of Kuciak’s reporting. Marcek’s confession was expected as Slovak public TV reported police sources said he admitted guilt during his questioning.
A fifth suspect, Zoltan Andrusko, confessed in December to facilitating the murder. A court handed him a 15-year prison sentence in a plea deal after being the only one to cooperate with the police investigation. Andruskó confessed to passing the order from Alena Zsuzsová, a close collaborator of Kočner, to the hitmen, Miroslav Marček and Tomáš Szabó, also a former soldier.
Kuciak was looking into tax fraud, government corruption and links between Slovak politicians and the Italian Mafia. His murder – the couple was shot in their home – set off furious protests and led to the election of anti-corruption activist Zuzana Čaputová as the country’s President.

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