NEWS BRIEFS

Prison library book hides possible threat to SIS squealer

Former senior officer of the Slovak Intelligence Service Jaroslav Svěchota provided crucial testimony in the case of the abduction of Michal Kovac Jr. to Austria a month ago. Now, still in custody, he found a razor blade in one of the books he borrowed from the prision library, officials reported.

The Interior Ministry investigator handling the case, Jaroslav Ivor, neither confirmed nor denied that the blade was meant as a form of threat for Svěchota, but he stressed that at present it is safer for Svěchota to be in custody rather than free.

Svěchota has thus far testified only in the abduction case. If he decides to testify regarding all charges against his one-time boss, former SIS director Ivan Lexa, he could be released, Ivor said.

After being arrested on February 1, 1999, Svěchota provided details and a description of the poltically-motivated kidnapping, and in his testimony reportedly described his involvement in the abduction. Nine people have already been charged in the kidnapping, five of whom are in preliminary custody.

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