‘The problem is toxic business leeching off taxpayers’ – Jan Kuciak’s editor

The editor of the news portal for which murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak worked has reacted to the arrests made in connection with the crime, stressing that the fight against organised crime and corruption must continue to ensure that it can never happen again.

Peter Bárdy, editor of aktuality.sk, said those who permitted Kuciak’s murder by opening the door to crime and corruption had seriously failed the country. “Most likely, the real murderer is sitting in the investigation”.

On Monday, the media in Slovakia reported the arrest of four individuals in connection with the murder of the journalist and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová killed in their home near Bratislava in February.

A female suspect was identified as having paid €70,000 for his assassination, €20,000 of which were a cancellation of debt owed to her by one of those involved.

The woman, named as “Alena Zs. ordered the murder. Tomas Sz. (former police officer) was the one who shot them, Miroslav M. was a driver and Zoltan A. an intermediary,” the prosecutor told reporters during a press conference in Bratislava on Monday.

In a hard hitting editorial, Bárdy said the country’s political class allowed into the country “toxic businesses” leeching off the taxpayer. “They are responsible for mistrust in the police, the prosecutor’s office and the courts”.

Most likely, the real murderer is sitting in the investigation

Seven months after the murder, people were questioning whether the murder was actually being investigated. Now people are arguing about the low sum paid for his life – €70, 000. Bárdy argued this was irrelevant.

“What if they had paid €1 million? Would we accept it more easily? The real question is: what should be done to prevent such atrocities”

He was critical of the political elite who “constantly attacked journalists,” saying it was creating the belief that journalists were enemies of the State.

Bárdy echoed a sentiment in Malta after the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, four months before Kuciak’s murder. He said, “a large number of people have been denigrating and debasing the real extent of this murder. Verbal attacks against journalists is only one step towards their murder. No matter the price.”

He said the loss of Kuciak and Kušnírová could not be valued in financial terms. “The murder of John and Martina hurt us very much, no matter how much they paid for it. That is not important. What is essential is what we are able and willing to do all we can to protect all good people from organised crime. This is the challenge today”.

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