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For first time in Slovak History, two lifers may walk out of jail

FOR THE first time in Slovakia’s history, two convicts sentenced to life in prison may be released on parole.

Prison, illustrative stock photo. (Source: Sme)

Ľubor Masár, 56, and Ján Molnár, 73, will be eligible to seek release in late September after having spent 25 years in prison, which is in keeping with the Code of Criminal Procedure. The decision as to whether or not they will be released is to be made by the District Court in Trnava and, most probably upon an appeal either by the prosecution or the defence, the Regional Court in Trnava.

Masár and Molnár raped and strangled Gabriella Widdershoven–Groen, a Dutch national, in Austria in August 1990. They also inflicted serious injuries on her spouse, who after recovering provided the key testimony against the two men in court. The woman's body was found after two months at an advanced stage of decomposition.

The two men were the first people to be sentenced to life imprisonment for murder following the Velvet Revolution in late 1989. They had spent some time in prison prior to the fall of Communism, but were released following a blanket amnesty granted by then-Czechoslovak president Vaclav Havel effective as of January 1990. Masár sought release last year, but failed to comply with the statutory condition of having served 25 years in prison.

“The court may release a prisoner on parole if the prisoner has shown reformation by fulfilling his duties and by his behaviour while in prison, and can be expected to lead a decent life,” said head of the Justice and Prison Guards Department (ZVJS) general director's office Adrián Baláž.

There are 41 lifers in Slovak jails. The infamous murderer of nine people Ondrej Rigo will be able to seek release in 2018. Mikuláš Černák, who was considered to be one of the most powerful figures in the Slovak underworld in the 1990s and is now in prison for multiple murders, could – in theory – walk out of prison in 2023.

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