Slovaks Unveil Monument to Slain Journalist and His Fiancee

Slovakia marked on Monday the anniversary of the 2018 slayings of an investigative journalist and his fiancee by unveiling a monument to honor them at a central square in the capital of Bratislava.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger and the parents of the two were among those attending the unveiling ceremony.

Jan Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova, both 27, were shot dead at their home in the town of Velka Maca, east of Bratislava, on Feb. 21, 2018.

Kuciak had been investigating possible government corruption when he was killed. The killings prompted major street protests unseen since the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia and a political crisis that led to the government’s collapse.

“I thank all those who work to prevent people from forgetting what happened and why it happened,” Kusnirova’s mother Zlatica said.

Three defendants have been sentenced in the case. Among them, a former soldier who pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the two received 25 years in prison. 

In June, Slovakia’s Supreme Court dismissed a lower court’s acquittal of a businessman accused of masterminding the slayings. A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court said the lower court did not properly assess available evidence when it cleared businessman Marian Kocner and one co-defendant of murder.

It ordered a retrial that is scheduled to begin next week.

Prosecutors alleged Kocner ordered the killing. He denies that.

Kocner had allegedly threatened Kuciak following the publication of a story about his business dealings.

In the meantime, Kocner was sentenced to 19 years in prison in a separate forgery case.