In his first week in office, Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok suspended five special investigators and their chief, Jan Curilla. They had spent the past years investigating corruption charges against members of the Smer political party, the party of Prime Minister Fico.
Sutaj Estok also suspended a vice president of the police force. A court later said that he shouldn‘t have fired this policeman, and that he should allow him to return to work.
Yesterday, another court ruling: one of the six investigators should be allowed to go back to work. The judge said the Interior Ministry should have asked the Office for the Protection of Whistleblowers for consent.
The main opposition parties said yesterday that the Interior Minister should resign, because he had ignored the law and attacked the independence of the courts.
Separately, an audio tape brandished as evidence against the investigators by Robert Fico, three years ago, was declared manipulated.
Fico said at a press conference in 2020 the tape proved the men were ‘sadistic criminals’ who used ‘Gestapo methods.’ But the analysis, by the Forensic department of the Slovak Police Corps, showed the tape was a cut-and-paste job, not an uninterrupted recording. This would cast doubt on the context of the recorded remarks.
Daniel Lipsic, the Special Prosecutor who worked with the investigators, said that attacks on the police with lies and fabricated recordings are ‘crossing the lines of the rule of law.’
Lipsic said the opinion of the Institute of Criminalistics and Expertise of the Police Corps proves that the prosecutors of his office were the victims of indiscriminate attacks by politically exposed persons, based on manipulated audio recordings.