Slain Slovak journalist laid to rest in wedding suit

Slain Slovak journalist laid to rest in wedding suit

Slain Slovak investigative journalist was laid to rest in his wedding suit on Saturday as hundreds of mourners packed a Roman Catholic church in the northern Slovak village of Stiavnik, an AFP journalist reported.

Kuciak’s burial comes a day after his fiancee Martina Kusnirova was laid to rest in her wedding gown in the northern town of Gregorovce. The couple, both 27, were to marry in May.

The ceremony began with the reading of a poem written by Jan for his fiancee that he had planned to read at their wedding.

Kuciak was gunned down as he was about to publish an article raising possible political links to Italian businessmen with alleged ties to the ‘Ndrangheta supposedly operating in Slovakia.

Just hours before his funeral Slovak police released seven Italians detained after they were named by Kuciak in his explosive report on alleged high-level corruption linked to Italy’s notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

Leading the funeral mass, Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky told mourners that “if the murderer thought he was able to silence Jan, he was wrong.

“He achieved the opposite. An attack on a journalist is also an attack on the freedom of our country, we must not allow it.”

Slovak Police commander Tibor Gaspar, has said the motive behind his murder was “most likely” related to Kuciak’s investigative journalism.

In Italy, prosecutors have suggested that the ‘Ndrangheta may have been behind the killing of Kuciak and his fiancee whom police found dead at their home near Bratislava on Sunday.

Their murder has raised fresh concern about media freedom and corruption both in Slovakia and Europe. It comes just months after the October 2017 assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had denounced corruption in Malta.

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

Organisers estimated that around 25,000 people gathered in the capital Bratislava, while thousands met in a dozen other cities and towns across the EU and NATO country of 5.4 million people.

Thousands of mostly young Slovaks joined anti-graft rallies last year demanding the dismissal of senior government and police officials for alleged foot-dragging on fighting graft.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has accused the opposition of using the murder as a “political tool to get people out on the streets and gain power”.

Two of his close aides were for forced to resign Wednesday after Kuciak alleged they had ties to Italians purportedly involved with the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate. Both have denied any wrongdoing.


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