A Businessman was Again Acquitted of The Murder of Journalist Jan Kuciak in Slovakia
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A Businessman was Again Acquitted of The Murder of Journalist Jan Kuciak in Slovakia

A court in Slovakia for the second time recognized businessman Marian Kochner as innocent of charges that he ordered the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak . Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kushnirova, were shot in 2018 in their home.

During his lifetime and until the days before his death, Kuciak investigated the Slovak government’s ties to the mafia. Marian Kochner, who according to media reports had connections with members of the then ruling party, is among the heroes in the investigations of the murdered journalist.

Initially, in 2020, Kochner and his assistant, Alena Zhuzhova, were found not guilty as masterminds of the murder plot. However, the Slovak Supreme Court then overturned the convictions and ordered a retrial.

With the court’s decision from Friday, Kochner was re-acquitted. However, his assistant Zhuzhova was found guilty of participating in the murder plot. The verdict is not final and may be appealed.

After Kochner was acquitted again, relatives of the murdered couple expressed outrage. According to them, Zhuzhova had no motive to order the murders herself and it has been proven that she worked directly for the businessman. Earlier in the trial, one of the men convicted of mediation testified that Zhuzhova had told him that Kochner had ordered the murder.

Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee were shot in February 2018 in their home. The killing sparked the biggest street protests in Slovakia since the fall of communism in 1989.

The demonstrations led to the resignation of then-Prime Minister Robert Fizzo, Interior Minister Robert Kaliniak and Police Chief Tibor Gaspar.Shortly after the murder, Kuciak’s latest investigation was published, revealing links between two high-ranking government officials and the Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia organization.The perpetrator of the murder, Miroslav Marcek, pleaded guilty and the Supreme Court of Slovakia upheld his sentence of 25 years in prison in December 2020.

Source: Svobodna Evropa