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Slovak Bloggers and European Leaders Demand Justice for Slain Journalist Ján Kuciak

#AllForJan webpage set up by Aktuality.sk commemorating Jan Kuciak (27), and Martina Kušnírová (27)

Outrage over the killing of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiance Martina Kušnírová continues to reverberate both within their native Slovakia and across Europe, with increasing demands for accountability by authorities at the national and European Union levels.

The couple was found dead on 25 February 2018 in their home in Veľká Mača in Slovakia.

Human Rights Watch European Media Director, Andrew Stroehlein, described the crime scene:

Member of European Parliament Roberta Metsola has likened Kuciak's murder with the October 2017 assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was also an investigative reporter working on stories about government corruption and organized crime.

Andrew Caruana Galizia, Daphne's son, wrote a Twitter thread summing up a similar position and demanding EU-wide response:

Anger is what I felt when I read the news. ‘s execution could have been prevented. My mother’s should have been the last in the EU. That’s why I’ll avoid the word tragic. These crimes are foreseeable and preventable. We know what causes them: law enforcement failure.

The social cost of a journalist's assassination is immeasurable. The mass trauma society suffers, the devastating impact on our right to know, the impunity which it confirms and in turn breeds, the message it sends that the most selfless among us will be the first to die and the human suffering that any innocent life cut short brings to victims’ families, are worth any political price to prevent. Supranational law enforcement tools must be established urgently to punish the killers. Strong words won't deliver justice, neither will they stop the executions.

‏A number of Slovak bloggers have been tackling the issue of the journalist's murder, including Peter Juščák:

Vražda novinára Kuciaka a jeho partnerky je šokom. Je to brutálny čin s ohlasom v celej Európe. Len Ficova vláda, ktorá celé roky budovala a chránila oligarchický režim ešte nepochopila, kam doviedla túto krajinu.

The murder of journalist Kuciak and his partner is a shock. It is a brutal act that has triggered reactions throughout Europe. Only the Fico government, which has been building and protecting the oligarchic regime for years, has yet to understand where it has taken this country.

Ján Benčík warned that the neo-Nazi People's Party for Our Slovakia is spreading a new conspiracy theory through their Facebook page:

Správca stránky „Kotleba – Ľudová strana Naše Slovensko – Bratislavský kraj“ na otázku aké je stanovisko ĽSNS k vražde dvoch mladých ľudí, investigatívneho novinára z portálu Aktuality.sk a jeho snúbenice, odpovedal: „V podstate bol popravený medzinárodný zločinec… Tieto sakrálne obete poslúžia ako pokus eurocentralistov zneužiť vraždu na upevnenie moci Bruselu tým, že nad nami preberú moc trestné orgány Bruselu.”

Administrator of the page “Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia – Bratislava Region” posted this reply to a request for comment from their party on the murder of investigative journalist for web portal Aktuality.sk and his fiancee: “In essence, an international criminal has been executed… These sacrificial victims will be used as a justification by the Eurocentralists for strengthening the power of Brussels and given Brussels’ criminal authorities power over us.”

Slovak Prime Minister Róbert Fico offered a 1 million euro (USD $1.2 million) reward for information leading to solving the murder case and even put the money on display at a press conference:

Blogger Slavomír Repka also expressed doubt as to Fico's motives:

Dnešná Ficová tlačovka nebola určená novinárom, nebola určená Janovi Kuciakovi a jeho partnerke Martine… Dnešna Ficova tlačovka s miliónom … bola určená Ficovým voličom a kontinuálne sa znižujúcim preferenciám …

Today Fico's press meeting was not intended for journalists, it was not intended for Jan Kuciak and his partner Martina … Today Fico's press conference with million [euro] … was for Fico's voters and [intended to curb] continuously decreasing support…

Richard Malý replied to Prime Minister's call:

- Komu je prospešné, pán premiér, vyhýbať sa faktom, o vplyve talianskej mafie na chod našej krajiny?
– Aký má premiér SR prospech zo sexice Troškovej? A aký má ona a jej ľudia prospech z premiéra?
– Aký má prospech rodina zavraždených z toho, že vyšetrovanie vraždy riadi policajný prezident, o ktorého švagrovi zavraždený novinár písal v súvislosti s tunelovaním štátnej kasy?
– Aký máme prospech z toho, že šéf bezpečnostnej rady štátu má najvyššiu možnú bezpečnostnú previerku a pritom kšeftuje s talianskou mafiou?

- To whom is it beneficial, Mr Premier, to sidestep the fact that the Italian mafia has an influence on the course of our country?
– How does the prime minister of the Slovak Republic benefit from sexy Trosková? And how do she and her people benefit from the Prime Minister?
– How does the victim's family benefit from the fact that the murder investigation is being conducted by a police chief whose brother-in-law wrote was once a subject of the journalist's investigations?
– How can we benefit from the fact that the head of the state security council has the highest possible security clearance and is scalping with the Italian mafia?

Some of Fico's close associates, like Maria Trošková, a former girlfriend of Italian mafia figure Antonino Vadala, have been temporarily suspended from their government posts until the conclusion of the investigation.

Blogger Peter Jarunek commented on the suspensions:

Trošková a Jasaň odstupujú.. Ale.. Len do vyšetrenia vraždy?? Veď oni majú dokázateľné vzťahy s ľuďmi dôvodne podozrivými z rozsiahlych trestných aktivít aj bez vraždy! … Ako mohol dostať Jasaň bezpečnostnú previerku na najvyšší možny bezpečnostný stupeň?? Ak ju dostal takýto človek, znamená to, že ten proces niekde zlyháva.

Trošková and Jasaň are resigning. But…just until investigation of the murder concludes? They have proven connections with people reasonably suspected of widespread criminal activities even without murder! …How could he get Jasaň the safety check to the highest possible security level? If it was given to such a person, it means that the process somewhere fails.

The official in charge of the investigation is police chief Tibor Gašpar.

Transparency International Slovensko reminded the public that in 2012, Ján Kuciak expressed a very unfavorable opinion about Gašpar's appointment:

Nominácia Tibora Gašpara na pozíciu prezidenta Policajného zboru je výsmech všetkým, ktorí o gorilie protesty čo i len zavadili, nieto ešte vymrzli a zničili si hlasivky na námestiach. „Kauza desaťročia” má na Slovensku príznačné vyznenie: Jeden z jej aktérov odteraz dozerá na poriadok v štáte. … A dnes Kaliňák … vymenoval za šéfa polície Tibora Gašpara. To je zase ten, čo mal odpratať spis do Nitry, čo mal mať prsty v skartovaní…jednoducho ten, čo ako šéf Úradu boja proti korupcii korupciu nie že neriešil, ale utajoval.

The nomination of Tibor Gašpar as President of the Police Force is a mockery for all those who had just minimal connection with the [anti-corruption movement called] Gorilla Protest, to say nothing of those who froze and destroyed their vocal cords in the squares. “The Decade Case” has in Slovakia a distinctive expression: One of the actors now cares about order in the state. … And today [Minister of Interior] Kaliňák… appointed Tibor Gašpar as police chief. He was supposed to be moving files to Nitra, but instead was shredding them…as the head of the Office for fighting corruption, he didn't solve, but instead hid the corruption.

Café Európa criticized police chief Gašpar's public statement in which he talked about cooperation of the police with journalists:

Polícia s novinármi nespolupracuje. Existuje jasnejší dôkaz tohto tvrdenia ako fakt, že zavraždený Ján Kuciak podal 7. septembra 2017 trestné oznámenie za vyhrážanie sa a do jeho smrti nemal tento prípad ani len konkrétneho vyšetrovateľa?
Skúsenosti novinárov s políciou sú skôr negatívne. Polícia často namiesto vyšetrovania káuz, na ktoré investigatívci upozornia, strávi množstvo času a energie vypočúvaním samotných novinárov, na ktorých osoby označené v ich článkoch podávajú žaloby za ohováranie.

The police do not cooperate with the journalists. Is there any clearer evidence of this claim than the fact that the murdered Ján Kuciak filed a criminal complaint on 7 September 2017 for threats, and until his death that case did not even have a specific investigator?

The experience of journalists with the police is rather negative. Police often spend a lot of time and energy investigating the journalists themselves, instead of investigating the causes for such harassment.

Alexandra Mravíková also related the experiences of journalists with the Slovak police:

Je nechutné, aby Gašpar ponúkal novinárom ochranu. Je to výsmech. Po tom, ako Kuciak podal trestné oznámenie a nikto ho neriešil. Iba idiot by zažiadal Slovenskú republiku o ochranu, keďže je už úplne jasné, že je to naopak hrozba.

It is disgusting for Gašpar to offer journalists protection. It's a mockery. After Kuciak filed a criminal complaint and nobody questioned him. Only an idiot would ask the Slovak Republic for protection, as it is already quite clear that this is a threat.

Former policeman Branislav Diďák also wrote:

… ako človeka a bývalého príslušníka Policajného zboru sa ma táto tragédia osobne veľmi dotkla.
… Čo robili elitné bezpečnostné zložky nášho štátu, keď na východnom Slovensku existuje takáto silná medzinárodná mafiánska skupina? … Môžeme si za to sami. Presne týmto prístupom, politickými nomináciami, známosťami a hraním sa na vlastnom piesočku.

…as a human being and a former member of the Police Force, this tragedy touched me personally.
…What did the elite security forces of our state do when there was such a strong international mafia group in Eastern Slovakia? …We alone are responsible for it. Exactly with this approach, political nominations, acquaintances, and playing on your own sand.

Martin Ďurko was also candid about his feelings:

Súdiac podľa minulých káuz na Slovensku a aj skúseností s podobnými udalosťami vo svete je veľmi málo pravdepodobné, žeby sme sa dočkali spravodlivosti. Avšak v záujme zachovania vlastného psychického zdravia zostávam optimistom …

Based on past experience in Slovakia, as well as experience with similar events in the world, it is very unlikely that we will see justice. However, in order to maintain my own mental health, I remain optimistic…

Pavel Kolesár urged his fellow citizens not to give in to apathy:

Nemôžeme to predsa teraz vzdať. Udialo sa toho toľko, že to predsa nemôžeme nechať na náhodu.
Ak by sme to vzdali, odišli, nechali to len tak, tak si uvedomia, že si tu, v našej krajine, môžu robiť čokoľvek. Nikdy by ich už nič nezastavilo a zo Slovenska by sa stalo malé Rusko. Preto je teraz dôležité nevzdať sa, podporiť tiché pochody, uctiť si pamiatku mladého, ale veľkého novinára a jeho priateľky a bojovať za našu zabudnutú krajinu. Politici robia len to, čo im ľudia dovolia. Myslím, že to čo sa udialo, by sme im nikdy nedovolili, a preto to treba ukázať.

We can not give up now. So much has happened, that we can't leave it to chance.
If we surrender, leave, just let it be, they will realize that here, in our country, they can do anything. Nothing would ever stop them and Slovakia would become a small Russia. Therefore, it is now important that we not capitulate, that we encourage silent marches, that we hold onto the memory of a young but great journalist and his girlfriend and to fight for our forgotten country. Politicians do just what people let them do. I think that what happened, we would never allow them, and that's why we have to show it.

Kristína Bartová echoed these sentiments:

Je pravda, že ani ja neviem nadiktovať presné riešenie, ako konečne naše Slovensko zmeniť a žiť v naozajstnom právnom štáte, ale viem, že musíme jasne vyjadriť, že tento stav už naďalej nebudeme tolerovať. … Myslím si, že Janko si to za svoju prácu pre nás zaslúži!

It is true that I too can not dictate the exact solution of how to finally change our country and live in a real country of law, but I know that we must clearly articulate that we will no longer tolerate this state… I think Janko deserves it, as all his work was for our common benefit!

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