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Prosecutor defends right to nullify presidential pardon

Slovak prosecutor Michal Vaľo told Radio Twist on August 9 that he was correct in declaring President Michal Kováč's pardon of two men charged in the Technopol fraud case null and void. "In democracies and legal states, decisions on granting pardons cannot be understood as an absolute, arbitrary move of a monarch who grants a pardon whenever it occurs to him...to murderers or some criminals," Vaľo said. The Technopol case is a celebrated affair in which the President's son, Michal Kováč Jr. Is accused of fraudulent business dealings totalling $2 million. Kováč Jr. Is wanted for questioning on the Technopol fraud, and has repeatedly said he was innocent.

In this latest twist, Vaľo conceded, though, that the Constitution does not have conditions for granting pardons, and added that he is not asking the Constitutional Court to override Kováč's ruling. He said that, instead, the court should explain whether the head of state can grant pardons "arbitrarily." Vaľo's move has been criticized as unconstitutional. If the prosecutor-general does not act according to the law, "Slovakia is headed toward not a legal but rather a police state," the opposition daily Sme commented on August 12.

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