Slovak police release Italian suspects in journalist's death

Delia Watkins
March 5, 2018

Seven Italian businessmen were released by Slovak police yesterday, having been detained after they were named by murdered journalist Jan Kuciak in an incendiary report on alleged high-level political corruption related to the Mafia and allegations of misuse of European Union funds.

In Italy, prosecutors have suggested that the notorious Calabrian crime syndicate the ´Ndrangheta may have been behind the killing of Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova who were found shot dead at their home on Sunday. Mr Kuciak was working on a story revealing the influence of the Italian mafia in Slovakia and its alleged ties to people close to the Prime Minister, Robert Fico. "After the 48 hours passed, the persons were released from detention", police spokeswoman Denisa Baloghova said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis reports.

Marches were held in 25 towns and cities across the country and overseas, including in London, Paris and Brussels.

Police in Slovakia raided houses linked to alleged members of the syndicate on Thursday.

His article was published posthumously on the website he worked for,

Tens Of Thousands March To Honor Slain Slovak Journalist

Thousands flocked to candlelit anti-corruption protests and memorials held across Slovakia on Friday.

In the Slovak capital Bratislava, among the 20,000 protesters, some carried photographs of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kusnirova, along with a banner reading: "An attack on journalists is an attack on all of us".

In his investigation, Kuciak alleged that Italian businessmen with ties to the feared Calabrian organised crime syndicate 'Ndrangheta had settled in eastern Slovakia, and spent years embezzling European Union funds for this relatively poor region on the border with Ukraine.

Police confirmed their release on Saturday but gave no details.

This is the first killing of a journalist in Slovakia's history.

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