Problematic splitting of investigation file in case of journalist’s murder

Topical issue

Problematic splitting of investigation file in case of journalist’s murder

07. 02. 2019 14:53

Citing information leaks as a reason, Interior Minister Denisa Saková on Wednesday chose to take away from the investigation team dealing with the murders of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová part of the investigation file and reassign it to the Internal Affairs team of the Interior Ministry. The part in question concerns the preparation of the murders of the Special Prosecutor Maros Žilinka, Deputy Prosecutor-General Peter Šufliarsky and the former interior minister and lawyer Daniel Lipšic. According to the ministry, it is mainly an administrative act, which should speed up the proceedings and prevent classified information being leaked to the press. Opposition lawmakers consider it a political interference with the investigation and wish to initiate an extraordinary session of the parliamentary Defence and Security Committee.

According to the head of the police, Milan Lučanský, the investigation into last year's murder of journalist Ján Kuciak is continuing, as it should. Moreover, the splitting of the investigation will not affect the team looking into Kuciak's murder; on the other hand, it should unburden them. As Lučanský explained further, when there is a suspicion or risk that the police might interfere with the case, it is legally possible to give the case to a police investigation service that deals with the criminal activity of the police.

The Prosecutor General's Office stated in response to the raised controversy that the current investigation revealed suspicions of other serious crimes (violent, financial, corruption), whereby these deeds should be excluded for separate criminal prosecution proceedings. Moreover, the Office are "99 percent certain" that someone looked in the classified databases for information on someone from the trio Šufliarsky, Žilinka and Lipšic. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Attorney General Jaromír Čižnár also confirmed that dividing up the original investigation is supposed to speed up the investigation of journalist's murder. The need for faster action corresponds with the deadline for the detention of the four suspects approaching fast. Unless the prosecutor manages to accuse the four suspects by the given time, the court might consider the delays as a reason for their release, which Čižnár wants to avoid at all cost.

Zuzana Botiková, Photo: TASR

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