Memorial gathering in Bratislava commemorating the murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová.
Bratislava – Not even five years after the murder of the Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, the courts in Slovakia have not finished the trial with the remaining two of the originally five defendants in this case, in which he was already sentenced to a long prison sentence in addition to the other murderers of Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová. Slovakia will commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the crime of February 21, 2018, which resulted in massive demonstrations and the replacement of the prime minister in the country.
Photo gallery: Murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak
According to a January announcement by the head of the relevant senate, Ruzena Sabová, the court of first instance could announce a new sentence against Marian Kočner, who faces charges of ordering Kuciak's murder, and Alena Zsuzsová, who is suspected of facilitating this crime, in April. The case of Kočner and Zsuzsová was re-examined by the Specialized Criminal Court last year after its previous acquittal against the pair was overturned by the Slovak Supreme Court.
On the fifth anniversary of Kuciak's murder, in which ex-soldier Miroslav Marček also shot a journalist fiancee Kušnírová, commemorative gatherings will take place in the country. They are organized by the initiative For a Decent Slovakia, which in Slovakia after the murder of the couple organized meetings that were the largest in terms of public participation since the so-called Velvet Revolution in 1989.
Throughout the week, there will be other events in the country to commemorate the anniversary of the crime. They include, for example, discussions, an international conference on media freedom and the Slovak cinema premiere of the Danish co-production film Kuciak: The Murder of a Journalist directed by Matt Sarnecki. More than two dozen ambassadors and other diplomats working in Slovakia will also honor the memory of Kuciak and Kušnírová.
Roughly three weeks after Kuciak's murder, the leader of the Social Democrats (Smér-SD), Robert Fico, resigned as prime minister in order to resolve the political crisis, and was replaced as head of the government by his then party colleague Peter Pellegrini. After the defeat in the elections at the end of February 2020, Smér-SD went into opposition, and subsequently Pellegrini and several other members of the House of Representatives, who founded the now most popular political party in the country, the Voice of Social Democracy, resigned from it. After the electoral defeat of Směr-SD and its split, the preferences of Fico's party dropped to a single digit value, but then gradually began to rise, and before the early parliamentary elections in September, Směr-SD is now the second most popular party in the country.
In addition to Marček, who confessed that he shot Kuciak and Kušnírová in their house, Zoltán Andruskó also admitted guilt in the case. Andruskó cooperated with the police, became a key witness for the prosecution and said in court that Kočner was the orderer of the reporter's murder and Zsuzsová was the intermediary. As Marček's assistant, the courts found his cousin Tomáš Szabó, who, according to the investigators, was hired by Andruskó to murder Kuciak.