Police in Slovakia have arrested several suspects in the investigation into the assassination last February of the investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova, according to Slovakian media reports. The chronicler and fiancé Martina Kusnirova, both 27, were shot dead on February 21st at their home in Vel’ka Maca, 65 kilometers east of Bratislava. According to local media, among the arrested there is a former policeman and a martial arts expert, who in the past had also worked for a security agency.
One of the people detained is suspected of having carried out the murder. Writing on Facebook Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said he was happy to hear of the arrests: “I appreciate the professional work of the investigators: the discovery and punishment of the perpetrators of this murder is one of the priorities of my government”, he wrote. Last week the police had released an identikit of the suspect that was resulted in a number of leads for investigators.
Kuciak worked for the online publication Aktuality.sk. The Slovak authorities suspect that Kuciak was targeted because of his posthumously published investigation – into the alleged links between the Slovakian political class and the Italian ‘Ndrangheta. On the first of March, seven Italians mentioned in his reporting were arrested, including the entrepreneur Antonio Vadalà, who was later released. After the murder, thousands of people took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption in the country and demand justice for the reporter and his girlfriend.
The case led to the dismissal of the head of the national police and the collapse of the government, with the former Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak both resigning amid popular anger of their handling of the case.