A criminal complaint has been filed against organisers of the For a Decent Slovakia protests. Police investigator Peter Jakubík told the protest organisers and specified that the complaint alleges that they were involved in organising a state coup and financed by George Soros, the Denník N daily reported.
The anti-corruption division of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) asked for their account statements at the command of NAKA head Peter Hraško, who has close links to former Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák and former Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar, the daily wrote.
Police Corps President Milan Lučanský was not aware of this investigation. Nor Interior Minister Denisa Saková.
For a Decent Slovakia: It's intimidation
“I consider it intimidation as I stated in the police report,” said Juraj Šeliga, one of the organisers.
In the last couple of days, several people behind the For a Decent Slovakia protests have been questioned by NAKA. Šeliga, Karolína Farská, Katarína Nagy Pazmány, Táňa Sedláková and Veronika Bruncková have been questioned. Others expect to follow this Thursday, according to Denník N.
“It’s upsetting to live in a country where Robert Fico thinks he is allowed to do anything,” Nagy Pazmány posted on her Facebook profile, expressing hope that Slovaks can succeed and that intimidation is no longer enough.
Lučanský, who has been critical of Hraško, did not possess the information that organisers are being investigated upon Hraško’s order.
“It’s not possible to be informed about each criminal complaint, but the police are obliged to investigate every one of them,” Lučanský said.
Did the state monitor organisers?
The wording of the criminal complaint is very similar with the past statements of former PM Robert Fico, who stepped down after the protests earlier this year, during an interview for the Czech Echo24.cz website on October 18.
“We already know that the organisers of those demonstrations after the murder of Ján Kuciak came from the organisations funded by George Soros,” Fico said in the interview. “We know well who met with whom, and what role they were playing at that time.”Thousands marched in Slovak towns again Read more
He indirectly suggested that the state could have been monitoring the organisers.
“Everything will get out soon as it is clear who ordered the murder,” Fico told Echo24.cz. He added that today it is obvious no one linked to the government was behind the murder.
Šeliga said they have got nothing to hide since they have a transparent bank account.
“If the intelligence service had tracked us, I don't understand what legal reason they had to do so,” Šeliga told Denník N, adding that he does not understand from where a random MP, Robert Fico, obtained such information.
Interior minister: Police are under media pressure
The police are once again under a lot of media pressure, responded Interior Minister Denisa Saková.
“As interior minister, I’ve never intervened in any investigation and I won’t do it even now,” she added, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “I realise my responsibility and require all my colleagues to do their job in compliance with the law.”
She stressed that the police need to check every criminal complaint, including the anonymous ones.
Lučanský said that he learned about the NAKA’s investigation from media. Subsequently, he contacted the investigator and asked him to explain certain facts. He stressed that the investigator only tried to receive information necessary for further actions, as reported by TASR.
Fico abuses state power, some say
The information has prompted several responses from both politicians and non-governmental organisations.
President Andrej Kiska thinks that Fico is intimidating people to show off his power.
“As president, I will do anything to make decent people in Slovakia feel safe,” he said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, adding that such bullying and accusations of activists of organising the attempted coup are inexcusable.
The opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) considers the investigation a dangerous precedent. In its opinion, it is reminiscent of the practices before the 1989 revolution when the state power intimidated everyone with a different opinion, as reported by SITA.
“He implies certain things, but he does not present any proof,” said Marek Maďarič, former culture minister and ex-Smer member, as quoted by the Sme.sk website.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer) does not have any information about state bodies or intelligence services being abused to monitor the organisers of the protests.
“I have this information only from the media, I don’t have any more details,” Pellegrini said during his visit to Azerbaijan, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
The ruling Smer party reiterated that it also learned about the ongoing investigation only from media. It also claimed that Fico’s responses in the interview were misinterpreted.
At the same time, the party confirmed Fico’s beliefs in what he has said about the background of the protests, as reported by Sme.sk.
International community responds, too
The Slovak branch of Amnesty International is seriously worried about the reports on the investigation.
“We call on Robert Fico, and other politicians to not doubt and stigmatise the legitimacy of civic activism but to protect and support its irreplaceable role in society,” Rado Sloboda, head of Amnesty International Slovensko, wrote in a statement.
The international community also expressed some concerns.
am deeply worried about what is happening today in Bratislava to Za slušné Slovensko activists,” said Flutura Kusari of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom on Twitter.