Slovak Billionaire Again Acquitted of Journalist Murder
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Slovak Billionaire Again Acquitted of Journalist Murder

Almost three years ago, Kocner was acquitted of the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancé. The verdict was overturned in 2021, and the process was reopened last April.

In the case of the murder of the Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, which was also closely observed by the international media, the alleged client Marian Kocner was again acquitted for lack of evidence. It has not been proven that the crime was committed by the accused, said the chair of the Senate of the special court responsible for organized crime in Pezinok near the capital Bratislava.

A co-defendant of the billionaire businessman was sentenced to 25 years behind bars. Three other confessed accomplices have received lengthy prison sentences in the past.

Kocner himself had already been acquitted in a first trial almost three years ago, which caused a wave of outrage in Slovakia. The verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2021 , and the process was reopened last April.

“I’m not a saint”

For the public prosecutor’s office, the businessman, who is said to have good connections in high politics, is the actual mastermind behind the journalist’s murder. The investigative reporter Kuciak had researched his business and had become too dangerous for him. The accused denied any guilt. “I’m not a saint, but I’m not a murderer either. And certainly not a fool who doesn’t know what the death of people would do,” he said in court.

The second acquittal caused another shock. The general expectation was that the prosecution’s evidence would be watertight this time. The victims’ families left the courtroom in dismay as the verdict was announced. The verdict is not yet final, it is expected that the prosecution will appeal. She had asked for life imprisonment for both main defendants.

Journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead with his fiancée Martina Kusnirova at their home in Velka Maca, western Slovakia, in 2018. The death of the journalist caused mass protests in the country, and then Prime Minister Robert Fico had to resign. Social changes began, and many corrupt links have since been uncovered.

Source: Die Presse