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The murder of a young investigative journalist and his fiancee has sparked a strong outcry from Slovak politicians, journalists and the wider public.
The reporter's research on alleged Italian mafia connections with EU farm funds in Slovakia has been suggested as a possible motive for assassination.
Police found the bodies of Jan Kuciak, 27, shot in the chest and his partner Martina Kusnirova, shot in the head, on late Sunday (25 February) in their home in Velka Maca, western Slovakia, following a call by Kusnirova's parents that they could not reach her for several days.
Kuciak wrote about serious economic crimes and illegal activities involving several high profile Slovak businessmen and their relations with top politicians.
According to the Slovak SME daily on Tuesday Kuciak was also working on a story linking prime minister Robert Fico's assistant with an Italian businessman in Slovakia.
Among numerous tax frauds and public fund scandals, he covered the Panama papers – just like the Maltese blogger and reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed in a car bomb blast last October.
This is the fifth case of a journalist or journalists being murdered in an EU country in the past 10 years, RSF pointed out. Investigative reporter and blogger, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was murdered in Malta on October 16, 2017. Seven Charlie Hebdo journalists were massacred in Paris on January 7, 2017. Greek radio station manager, Socratis Guiolias, was gunned down with an automatic weapon outside his home in 2010. And Croat newspaper editor, Ivo Pukanic, was killed outside his newspaper by a bomb planted next to his car in 2008.
Caruana Galizia Brothers React To Slovakian Journalist’s Murder
“My family warned the European Commission that with my mother’s assassination, Malta had set a new standard of permissible behaviour within the EU and that others would soon die if decisive action isn’t taken,” Andrew Caruana Galizia said. “Jan Kuciak could have been saved.”
“Today Europe woke up to the news of a murder that reminds us, for the second time in a couple of months, that we haven't crawled out on all fours from barbarism,” Matthew Caruana Galizia said. “We've learned to put a tax on plastic bags, make vegan cheese and put double-glazed windows on all our houses. But when we have to decide seriously the question of whether corrupt politicians and the racketeers who corrupt them should be prosecuted or protected, we are helpless to find a way other than to allow the murder of those calling for the former.
“If the thunderclap of the car bomb that killed my mother on 16 October wasn't enough draw the attention of our capitals to the corruption and rule of law crisis that is strangling the periphery states of Europe, then add to that the sound of a gun going off and the thud of two bodies as they hit the ground.”