THE BRUTAL murders of Jan Kuciak, an investigative journalist, and his fiancée in February 2018 rapidly turned Slovakia’s politics upside-down. Tens of 1000’s of Slovaks took to the streets, suspecting the killings have been linked to political corruption. “We simply thought our flesh pressers’ behaviour was fishy,” says Jan Galik, a 31-year-old IT specialist who helped discovered “For a Respectable Slovakia”, one of many major teams behind the demonstrations. The protests compelled police to mount a critical investigation and finally drove the previous prime minister, Robert Fico, to resign.
Over the previous month, the fishy odor has grown ever stronger. Slovak newspapers have been publishing excerpts from a whole bunch of pages of immediate messages supposedly leaked from a police report on Marian Kocner, a businessman charged with ordering the murders. The messages purport to point out Mr Kocner assiduously attempting to assist Mr Fico’s Smer-SD social gathering keep in energy. “In any other case, we are going to all find yourself in jail,” reads one message to a long-time affiliate. Others consult with conferences with “Squarehead” (Mr Fico’s nickname on satirical web sites).
One other message boasts of getting breakfast within the Maldives shortly after the murders with Bela Bugar, chairman of Smer-SD’s junior coalition associate, Most-Hid. Addressed to a lady who additionally faces expenses related to the murders, it guarantees to inform Mr Bugar “what I’d do in his place”. Most-Hid has been criticised for refusing to tug out of the coalition, thus preserving Smer-SD in energy.
Mr Bugar says his social gathering’s actions don’t have anything to do with Mr Kocner, whom he calls “evil”. As for Mr Fico, he denies that the conferences to which the messages refer befell. Mr Kocner rejects the cost that he was concerned within the homicide, whereas his lawyer notes that it’s laborious to show his consumer despatched the messages (although he doesn’t explicitly deny it).
Some pundits counsel Mr Kocner could have boasted of conferences that by no means occurred, to impress the individuals he was corresponding with. Prosecutors affirm that they’ve Mr Kocner’s messages, however not that these revealed are real. Nonetheless, they appear to take at the least among the data in them severely. In a single message, Mr Kocner refers to an official on the ministry of justice as his “monkey”. Final week the police seized that official’s cell phone.
For now, clean-government forces have the higher hand in Slovakia. In June an environmental and anti-corruption campaigner, Zuzana Caputova, took workplace as president. However the nation has a protracted method to go. “For a Respectable Slovakia” plans to take to the streets once more in September. “We need to remind those who the struggle for freedom is a endless course of,” says Mr Galik. ■