Kuciak murder trial ends
The prosecutor asked the court to sentence the three defendants in the Jan Kuciak murder trial to 25 years in prison. Prosecutor Vladimir Turan requested the sentence during his closing arguments today after the court rejected proposals by the prosecutor and defense to submit further evidence.
“This is the case of innocent young people who want to live in a free environment. It cannot be said that this is a case we have encountered. So far, we have seen it more in films that are flooding us with commercial television,” the prosecutor said.
Businessman Marian Kočner also faces charges in the ongoing trial. According to the prosecutor’s office, Kočner ordered the murder of Kuciak after the investigative journalist reported on his crimes.
“Publishing activities explicitly bothered the defendant because it presented him as a businessman committing a crime. The defendant knew that this could be his obstacle to establishing himself in political life,” said Prosecutor Vladimir Turan. Kočner planned to enter politics.
The prosecutor’s office said that Kočner paid Alena Zsuzsová, to have the journalist murdered. According to the prosecutor, Zsuzsová was financially dependent on Kočner, who is her daughter’s godfather. Turan also said that the defendant obtained compromising materials for Kocher on celebrities.
The third defendant is alleged to have helped murderer the journalist, Tomáš Szabó. The defense will deliver its closing arguments on July 31.
Zoltán Andruskó, who cooperated with the police in the investigation and was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year, previously confessed to planning the murder.
In January, Miroslav Marček admitted in court that he shot a journalist, girlfriend, and a businessman. Marček was sentenced to 23 years in prison in April this year.
Andruskó said in court that he arranged Kuciak’s murder between Zsuzs and Szabó on Kočner’s instructions. Another witness testified that he had arranged for Kuciak and other reporters to be watched at Kočner’s order. The prosecution also relied on communications between Kočner and Zsuzsová and metadata from the defendant’s phones to track their movements.
Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were killed in February 2018 in their house near Trnava. The double assassination provoked large-scale anti-government demonstrations and a political crisis in the country. The longest-serving Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico resigned from the head of government. After the defeat in this year’s elections, his Direction-Social Democracy party ended up in opposition. In June, more than a quarter of its members, led by former Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, left it after an internal party split.