The first criminal charges have been filed in connection with the wiretapping of journalists that surfaced last year, said acting General Prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka to the TA3 news
Channel, as reported by the SITA newswire on February 20.
"Having collected all evidence we have come to the conclusion after ten weeks that the time has come to bring charges against people who probably participated in illegal activities at the Military Defence Service, the VOS, and this has been done today," Trnka said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. The accused are charged with criminal offenses related to abuse of a public official's powers and violating another person’s rights.
"There are at least ten cases of crimes, and it is possible there will be more of them; and it is also possible that charges will be filed against other persons as well," Trnka stated, as quoted by SITA, adding that he did not specify how many people have been charged.
"The charged will also include top representatives of the VOS," he said refusing to give names. Although a court approved the wiretapping, Trnka said that the reasons given in the applications for wiretaps were fabricated and the judges had been deceived and misled.
"Monitoring and wiretapping did not have anything to do with uncovering any criminal activities and this is the greatest problem," the acting General Prosecutor said, adding that this is not only a problem of the intelligence service itself but of the entire Defence Ministry.
Ľubomír Galko from Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party, who was Defence Minister at the time of the wiretapping, said that Trnka is acting in an improper way. "He has thus much exceeded his powers," Galko told SITA on February 20 regarding Trnka's statements.
Galko was dismissed from his ministerial position due to the wiretapping of journalists of the Pravda daily and the head of the TA3 news TV channel, Michal Gučík, conducted by the VOS, part of the defence department.
The action was revealed about three months ago after Slovak media reported that the VOS had been wiretapping journalists and Gučík for six months until the fall of the cabinet in October. In addition to Galko’s dismissal, the VOS head, Pavol Brychta, also was terminated.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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