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WAIT FOR OFFICIAL COPY OF CERVANOVÁ TRIAL VERDICT DRAGS ON

Still no written verdict after 5 months

THE SIX men convicted in December of murdering medical student Ľudmila Cervanová have still not received an official copy of the verdict.
The extreme delay is the result of a request by Štefan Michálik, the president of the senate of the Supreme Court, which ruled on the case, that Chief Justice Milan Karabín grant him a fifth thirty-day extension to the verdict's deadline.

Milan Andrášik and Miloš Kocúr, were arrested in December immediately after the verdict was handed down.
photo: ČTK

THE SIX men convicted in December of murdering medical student Ľudmila Cervanová have still not received an official copy of the verdict.

The extreme delay is the result of a request by Štefan Michálik, the president of the senate of the Supreme Court, which ruled on the case, that Chief Justice Milan Karabín grant him a fifth thirty-day extension to the verdict's deadline.

At the beginning of May, Karabín granted the request, despite a statement by his spokesperson to The Slovak Spectator in April that the judges had agreed the verdict would be completed by May 5, and that the chief justice was against postponing it further.

Asked why Michálik had requested yet another extension, and why Karabín agreed, the chief justice's spokesperson, Eva Rupcová, had no answer.

"I cannot tell you why," she told The Slovak Spectator. "I don't know, and I won't comment on this anymore."

Two of the convicted, Milan Andrášik and Miloš Kocúr, were arrested in December immediately after the verdict was handed down. Their parole cannot be decided without the written verdict, which they are legally entitled to.

Allan Böhm, the attorney who represents those of the men who finished serving their sentence seventeen years ago, had no idea why it was taking so long to write the verdict.

"It seems that the judge does not know how to justify his decision," a lawyer, who prefers to remain anonymous, told The Slovak Spectator. "He passed the verdict and now he has to figure out what to write, as several lawyers, attorneys, and the media have called it unlawful."

The written verdict is also needed for the convicted to file an appeal with Slovakia's Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights.

The verdict in this phase of the Cervanová case was decided on December 4, 2006, when the Senate of the Supreme Court found six men from Nitra guilty of the murder, which occurred on May 9, 1976. It has since been criticized for refusing to take into consideration evidence that had been compiled at the beginning of the investigation and left to collect dust in police archives in Levoča until last year.

Three of the convicted men were originally given a longer sentence than when they were sentenced in 2004 by the Regional Court in Bratislava. Miloš Kocúr and Milan Andrášik got 15 years instead of the 13 they were originally sentenced to, and Stanislav Dúbravický got 12 instead of 10.

After the fall of communism, the Supreme Federal Court released all of the convicts after an examination of their original trial found investigators and lower courts had made seventy procedural errors. The case was then returned to the lower courts for retrial.

In all, it took 17 years for the case to be decided.

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