The International Press Institute (IPI) will monitor the murder trial beginning Monday, January 13 of four suspects accused of murdering Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, in February 2018.
IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen will attend and report from the first day of the trial on Monday in Pezinok, just outside the Slovak capital Bratislava, as well as selected additional days of the scheduled proceedings (14,15,20,21,22 January and 03,04,06 February).
“We want to send a signal that the international press freedom and journalistic community is carefully following the case”, Griffen said. “There is great international interest in ensuring that all those responsible for the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová are justly punished. We expect the court to follow the evidence presented by prosecutors.”
A preliminary hearing in the case took place on December 19, 2019, during which a court accepted the indictment filed by prosecutors against the four suspects last October. The suspects include the alleged mastermind, businessman Marian Kočner, as well as an intermediary and two hitmen. All face a sentence of 25 years to life.
Kuciak, whose work for the online news site Aktuality.sk uncovered allegations of tax fraud and financial crime implicating prominent business and political leaders in Slovakia, and Kušnírová were killed in their home on February 21, 2018. The double murder sparked the largest protests in Slovakia since the Velvet Revolution.
A fifth suspect in the case, Zoltán Andruskó, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in December after agreeing to a plea deal with prosecutors and agreeing to act as a witness.
IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen
+431512 9011 / +43 680 238 9498