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Lie detector test suggests murder convicts are innocent

A LIE detector test administered to four of the six men sentenced for the 1976 murder of medical student Ľudmila Cervanová has shown that none of them had anything to do with the crime.

Tests administered by US expert Patrick T. Coffey, who has also trained Slovak security forces in the use of the device, produced negative results for Juraj Lachman, Pavol Beďač, František Čerman, and Stanislav Dubravický. The other two men sentenced for the crime, Milan Andrašík and Miloš Kocúr, have said they want to take the test as well, but are unable to because they are still in jail serving 15-year sentences.

For 26 years since originally being sentenced for the crime, the six men have tried to prove their innocence, but last December, the Supreme Court confirmed the original verdicts and even added time to three men’s sentences, sending two of them back to prison.

The Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office have refused to comment on the new findings. However, Justice Minister Štefan Harabin said he believes that the courts should take up the tests, and intends to discuss the possibility of a special appeal with Slovakia’s attorney general.

Slovak courts do not admit the results of lie detector tests as evidence. According to the judicature of the Supreme Court, however, a lie detector test can be admitted as a proof of guilt.

Alan Böhm, the defense counsel for the accused, said that in their case the test results are strong evidence of their innocence, especially given that the courts destroyed other evidence in the case decades ago.

Two of the six men were sentenced to 15 years in jail, one to 12 years, one to 11 years, and the remaining two to 6 and 3-year sentences.

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