Police release seven suspects in Slovakian journalist's killing

Posted March 04, 2018

Police in Slovakia have released seven Italians who were detained as suspects in the slayings of an investigative journalist and his girlfriend.

27-year-old online media journalist Jan Kuciak was found shot dead alongside his finance at his home on Sunday.

Kuciak was working on a story about the influence of the Italian mafia in Slovakia and its possible ties to people close to the prime minister, Robert Fico. "After the 48 hours passed, the persons were released from detention", police spokeswoman Denisa Baloghova said in a statement released on March 3.

Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis reports. She was buried in her wedding gown in a ceremony attended by hundreds of mourners in the northern town of Gregorovce.

Kuciak's murder has raised fresh concern about media freedom and corruption both in Slovakia and Europe.

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"During the legal timeframe - 48 hours - (police) checked and searched for facts needed for an indictment".

The rallies are taking place amid calls for global experts to join the investigation and for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was linked to corruption scandals in the past, to resign.

Leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico has accused the opposition of using the murder as a "political tool to get people out on the streets and gain power".

The murder prompted demands from Prime Minister Robert Fico's coalition partners for the resignation of senior officials, throwing the stability of his cabinet into doubt.

Prime Minister Fico has offered a €1m ($1.2m; £890,000) reward for anyone who comes forward with information about the case.

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Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said on Facebook on Thursday that Italian police, Europol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Scotland Yard pledged to help Slovak investigators.

The seven Italian businessmen named by Kuciak in his report, which was published posthumously earlier this week, are Antonino Vadala, 42, Sebastiano Vadala, 45, Bruno Vadala, 40, Diego Roda, 62, Antonio Roda, 58, Pietro C., 26 and Pietro C., 54).

The ultranationalist Slovak National Party is the third member of the coalition.

He has also regularly attacked journalists in the past, calling them "dirty, anti-Slovak whores" and "slimy snakes".

Christophe Deloire, RSF secretary-general told AFP he had asked Fico on Friday in Bratislava to "clearly express his regrets" for having publicly insulted journalists, something the RSF chief called "dangerous".

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Fico on Friday denied that any such request was made.