08. 08. 2018 14:55
Germany will take Slovakia at its word that it will indeed take steps to thoroughly investigate the kidnapping of Vietnamese citizen Trịnh Xuân Thanh, stated German Ambassador to Slovakia, Joachim Bleicker to TASR on Tuesday, following a meeting with Slovak President Andrej Kiska.
"President Kiska assured me that both he and Prime Minister Pellegrini are in agreement that the Slovak side will do everything in its power as quickly as possible to clarify unanswered questions surrounding the unprecedented abduction case. Support in the investigation was also promised to Germany on May 2nd in Berlin by Prime Minister Pellegrini, and we take it for granted, of course," said the German ambassador.
Vietnamese citizen Trịnh Xuân Thanh was allegedly kidnapped in July 2017 while in Berlin, Germany, where he was applying for asylum. German media then reported that he was moved by his captors to Bratislava to coincide with a meeting between members of the Vietnamese and Slovak government. He was then allegedly drugged and placed aboard a Slovak government aircraft to be moved to Moscow and then on to Vietnam. The allegations from German media, stemming from information released by German investigators, suggest that members of Slovakia's government facilitated the event.
Robert Fico and Robert Kaliňák, the prime and interior ministers at the time of the abduction, deny all accusations of Slovak government involvement. Fico accused the media, opposition and President Andrej Kiska of manufacturing more attacks against the government.
Last weekend, the daily Denník N, in cooperation with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing documents from the Prosecutor's office, wrote that the Vietnamese delegation to Slovakia at the time consisted of four members upon arrival, however, there were twelve members when it left Slovakia. The daily also cited the testimonies of anonymous policemen, which said that the former interior minister, Robert Kaliňák, was possibly involved in the abduction. The policemen also allegedly witnessed a drugged or drunk man aboard the plane and they were forbidden to take photos.
On Tuesday, Kaliňák responded to the allegations, stating that he had undergone a polygraph lie-detector test, which evaluated his answers to key questions related to the abduction as likely to be true. However, according to the American National Research Council, polygraph tests are unreliable and able to be manipulated with skill, as they largely only measure anxiety.
Current Interior Minister Denisa Saková (Smer-SD) then stated that the Slovak policemen involved in escorting the Vietnamese delegation will soon able to provide testimonies to investigators as a total of fourteen individuals are to be released from their obligation to preserve confidentiality. Saková is scheduled to meet the German ambassador to Slovakia on Wednesday to offer assurances that Slovakia's Interior Ministry will provide maximum cooperation regarding the investigation into the case.