Police press charges against a prominent commentator

Charges pertain to Michal Havran's commentary in the Sme daily criticising a controversial Catholic priest.

Michal HavranMichal Havran (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

The police have pressed charges against publicist and theologian Michal Havran over a commentary criticising radical Catholic priest Marian Kuffa. The article was published on the Sme daily in June 2018.

Havran is planning to file a formal complaint against the charges.

The investigator of the Košice branch of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) accused Havran of defamation of nation, race and conviction as well as slander. Havran, who is a protestant theologian, criticised Kuffa in the text for his statements about homosexuals, and for his alliance with the far-right ĽSNS of Marian Kotleba when promoting the abortion ban.

The Sme daily has obtained the statement of charges in which the police claim Havran has offended Catholic believers and their priest because of their conservative opinions.

Related articleLaw firm files a criminal complaint over newspaper article Read more 

“Michal Havran’s commentary directly calls for the suppression of the rights of others, namely the right to freedom of expression of people with religious confession, and defames the expressions of their faith,” investigator Mikuláš Marton wrote.

The charges were pressed based on a criminal complaint filed by the law firm of Ján Čarnogursky Jr. The lawyer is the son of former politician and co-founder of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Ján Čarnogursky Sr, who has been known in recent years for his admiration of Russia and for his speeches at the meetings of the Slovak Levies (Slovenskí Branci) paramilitary group.

“This is not a conflict over theology or over literature, this is a political conflict aimed to show that certain groups of people still have enough influence in Slovak society to attempt to ostracise someone or to ruin someone’s career,” Havran said.

He insists the article was a pamphlet, irony-based genre, and it is therefore absurd to criticise the expressions that were used in it.

The editor-in-chief of the Sme daily, Beata Balogová, sees politics behind the charges against Havran. She reminded that international journalistic organisations have repeatedly warned about the increasing trend to criminalise the criticism of religion.

"Havran does not mock faith, Christians or Catholics. He mocks Marian Kuffa, who repeatedly attacked minorities," she said. "He points to the dangerous religious fanatism and to how faith can be abused to promote extreme opinions that pose a threat to democracy."

What the article is about

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

Richard Sulík said he is ready to serve as health minister.

News digest: More people in hospital and vaccination halted

Kurzarbeit to become a permanent tool. Sulík offers himself for health minister. Slovakia gets another protected regional specialty.

5 h
Illustrative stock photo

If Sputnik V is used in Slovakia, it would be within clinical trials

Slovakia asked EU member states to provide 100,000 vaccines.

11 h
The COVID-19 ward in the University Hospital Martin

How to stop Covid overload in hospitals

Experts and hospitals share their view of what Slovakia needs to do to relieve the critical situation.

8 h
Banská Bystrica

Surviving, so far as we can tell

Does anyone understand Slovakia’s pandemic rules any more?

23. feb