The Slovak police announced on Saturday that they had released, after 48 hours of detention, seven Italian nationals arrested after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak, who was investigating alleged mafia-linked corruption in Slovakia.
“The investigator verified the facts necessary to bring (possible) charges. After 48 hours, the detainees were released,” said a police statement, without giving further details.
The police had identified the seven men arrested as Antonino V. (42), Sebastiano V. (40), Bruno V., Diego R. (62), Antonio R. (58), Pietro C. (26) years old) and Pietro C. (54 years old).
The men, who were arrested on Thursday, were named in a report that Kuciak was about to publish alleging that they were members of the ‘Ndrangheta crime gang involved in business deals people close to the Slovakian government.
The 27-year-old journalist and his girl friend were found shot dead in their home in Velka Maca, near Bratislava.
Jan Kuciak’s funeral was scheduled for Saturday afternoon in the village of Stiavnik, near the Czech border.
Martina Kusnirova, his fiancée, was buried on Friday in a wedding dress in the city of Gregorovce at a funeral attended by hundreds of people, local media reported.
About 25,000 people gathered in the Slovak capital Bratislava to protest against corruption on Friday night. Other rallies were held in a dozen cities across the country, in below freezing temperatures.
Some carried placards saying: “Journalists, do not be afraid, we are with you!”
“I am here with you to pay tribute to two young people, Jan and Martina Kusnirova,” said Slovak President Andrej Kiska, to the crowd gathered in central Bratislava, before a minute of silence was observed in their memory.
Prime Minister Robert Fico, who once described journalists as “simple idiotic hyenas” and “dirty anti-Slovak prostitutes” met with senior media officials to assure them that “the protection of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists” was “a priority” for his government.