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Slovakia loses free speech case

THE STRASBOURG-based European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Slovakia breached the right to freedom of speech of Andrej Hrico, the former publisher and editor-in-chief of the regional Domino Efekt weekly, the daily SME wrote.

Slovakia has to pay him €3,030 in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, said the court.

Under Hrico, the weekly published three articles critical of Justice Štefan Štefanko and his supervision of the Supreme Court panel in the Slobodnik vs Feldek case in 1994.

Dušan Slobodník, former minister of culture, had sued writer Ľubomiř Feldek for a story in which Feldek criticised his fascist past. Feldek finally won the trial.

Štefanko turned to the court over Hrico's articles, which he said were writen to discredit him, and won Sk40,000 (€1,002) in non-pecuniary damages.

Hrico then sued Slovakia at the ECHR for breaching his freedom of expression.

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