Interior Ministry confirms Jaroslav S. has been released from custody

Jaroslav S., the former chief officer of the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) surveillance department who has given testimony in the 1995 Michal Kováč kidnapping case, was released from preliminary custody on Sunday, Interior Ministry spokesman Jozef Sitar said last week.

Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner refused to say whether Jaroslav is under police protection, but he did indicate that he is guarded. He underlined that it is in the ministry's utmost interest to protect Jaroslav, as his testimony in June furthered the investigation surrounding the involvement of former prime minister Vladimír Mečiar's SIS in the kidnapping.

Pittner said that if he were the prime minister, he would pardon Jaroslav under the condition that he delivers true testimony regarding all charges against him and that his testimonies are corroborated. He added that everything Jaroslav S. has said so far before investigators is backed by other testimony.

Jaroslav S. has reportedly testified that the abduction took place at the order of former SIS head, Ivan Lexa. He is one of nine people to have been arrested in association with the 1995 abduction of Kováč Jr. to Austria and the murder of Robert Remiaš, which is tied to the abduction case. Five of those charged, including Lexa, are in preliminary custody.

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