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Mečiar wants kidnap records published

Former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar has called for all information on the involvement of his friend and fugitive Ivan Lexa in one of the country's most infamous crimes to be declassified.
Mečiar's proposal, which has been backed by some members of parliament (MPs) and Interior Minister Ivan Šimko, would make public all records on the 1995 kidnapping of the then-president's son Michal Kováč Jr.
Lexa, head of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) at the time, was charged with organising the kidnap but last year saw the charges against him dropped because of a 1998 amnesty granted by Mečiar.


The former PM's proposal has the support of some MPs.
photo: Ján Svrček

Former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar has called for all information on the involvement of his friend and fugitive Ivan Lexa in one of the country's most infamous crimes to be declassified.

Mečiar's proposal, which has been backed by some members of parliament (MPs) and Interior Minister Ivan Šimko, would make public all records on the 1995 kidnapping of the then-president's son Michal Kováč Jr.

Lexa, head of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) at the time, was charged with organising the kidnap but last year saw the charges against him dropped because of a 1998 amnesty granted by Mečiar.

Šimko said he had already approached legal experts to see if the case files can be disclosed.

The head of the parliamentary security committee, Vladimír Palko, said: "The files are needlessly kept secret because the current head of the SIS, Vladimír Mitro, hasn't given his approval to making public things which he says touch on the structure of the secret service. This argument doesn't hold after so many years. They could be made public. I would be very glad if Mr Mitro did so," he said.

On August 31, 1995 Kováč Jr was kidnapped when three masked men drove up beside him as he was walking along a road, bundled him into the boot of a car, forced him to drink a bottle of whiskey and then drove him to Austria. He was dumped outside the police station in the town of Hainburg, near the Slovak-Austrian border.

Mečiar and President Kováč, who were once friends, had grown into bitter political rivals, and as rumours grew over the SIS' involvement in the crime an investigation was launched.

In 1998 Mečiar, then acting president, issued amnesties to any person found by the investigation to have been involved in the abduction.

Three years after the crime, Mikuláš Dzurinda became PM and, again as acting president, revoked the amnesties. Lexa was charged with orchestrating the kidnap but the case against him was dropped last summer.

Wanted in connection with other crimes, Lexa fled Slovakia last July. His whereabouts are unknown, but at the time then-Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner said Lexa had escaped Slovakia "with the help of certain foreign groups".

A final decision on the declassification of the documents lies with Mitro. He was expected to make a decision on the files on November 30. If made available, the files would be turned over to lawyers who would then make part or all of the information public.

Lexa's lawyers say that if the information is made public it will show that all charges against him, including those of abuse of power and larceny, are baseless.

Juraj Trokan, Lexa's lawyer said: "The charges against him are on shaky ground."

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