News Briefs

Lexa arrest not to be debated before August 20
Health minister wants to win back patients' trust
'Dunajská Streda massacre' case nearing conclusion

Lexa arrest not to be debated before August 20

Parliamnetary speaker Jozef Migaš said July 25 that there would be no debate before August 20 on arresting fugitive former Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) chief Ivan Lexa, following a recommendation by the parliamentary immunity and mandate committee that a proposal for taking Lexa into custody be returned to the Interior Ministry's Chief Investigator, Jaroslav Ivor.
Members of the committee said that the proposal should have been submitted by a judge or a court, and not the chief investigator. "The investigator is entitled to submit a proposal to strip an MP of his immunity, but this has nothing to do with custody," said committee member Marian Mesiarik.
Lexa, presently an MP with the former governing Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), is wanted in connection with sabotage, abuse of power and the 1995 kidnapping of Michal Kováč Jr., the son of the former president. He is believed to have fled Slovakia some months ago and to have applied for residency on the Caribbean island of Grenada. With parliament's consent, a judge can issue an international warrant for Lexa's detention and subsequent extradition. Ivor said that he was disappointed with the August 20 date. "This will certainly raise complications for the arrest of Lexa," he said.


Health minister wants to win back patients' trust

Newly appointed Health Minister Roman Kováč told the private Rádio Twist that winning back the trust of physicians and patients was his most important goal. He said that the catastrophic state of the health care sector is the result of its decay over the past 50 years.
Shadow health minister of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) Milan Urbany said the cabinet of Mikuláš Dzurinda had made no contribution to Slovakia's health care but had only harmed patients. "Health care belongs to the citizens of this state, it is necessary to free it from politics while the cabinet must realise that it is a top priority," he said.


'Dunajská Streda massacre' case nearing conclusion

Trnava Police Director Ivan Dujka said July 20 that the investigation of last year's "Dunajská Streda Massacre" - in which 10 mafia bosses were gunned down in a restaurant in southern Slovakia - would be completed by the end of the year. The killing was the worst in Slovak history.
On March 25, 1999, three masked assailants with automatic weapons entered the Fontana restaurant in Dunajská Streda and ordered the patrons to lie on the ground. Two gunmen then went upstairs to a private section of the restaurant where the gathered mob bosses sat unarmed, drinking and playing cards. The gunmen then fired 114 bullets in less than one minute.
Dujka suggested that the three murderers may have been killed since the murders. Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner said that the hired assassins had allegedly received $1 million for the hit.


Compiled by Ed Holt
from SITA

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