News digest: Shock verdict in the Kuciak case

The news in Slovakia on Thursday, September 3, is dominated by the much-awaited verdict.

Marian Kočner before the verdict. Marian Kočner before the verdict. (Source: TASR)

This is your overview of news from Slovakia on Thursday, September 3, 2020. If you appreciate the work of The Slovak Spectator, buy our online subscription and help us continue bringing you Slovak news you can trust.

Kočner and Zsuzsová not guilty

Marian Kočner and Alena Zsuzsová were acquitted of charges related to the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová. The court said on September 3 that the deed happened, but it has not been proven that they committed the crime.

Tomáš Szabó and Kočner have been found guilty of the unauthorised carrying of weapons. Kočner was given a financial sanction of €5,000 and an alternative punishment of five months in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

Tomáš Szabó has been found guilty of murdering Kolárovo entrepreneur Peter Molnár, and of involvement in the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová. He was sentenced to 25 years in a maximum-security prison.

The prosecutor appealed against the not guilty ruling on the spot. Here is what that means for the case.

Murder of journalist:An overview of the Kuciak murder trial Read more 

Hrubala: The judges did the best job they could

It is uncommon in Slovakia for a court president to comment on the work of a senate in public. The still-new president of the Specialised Criminal Court in Pezinok, Ján Hrubala, lived up to the pledges he made when he was appointed and held a press conference to offer some explanation of what Slovakia has witnessed in his court today.

"You have heard a reasoned and long verdict explaining why they made such a decision. (...) They may have erred. But I am convinced that the verdict you have heard was not the result of sloppy work," Hrubala told the press.

President shocked, PM hopes justice can still be delivered

The verdict drew reaction from the top state representatives as well as international journalistic and media freedom organisations.

President Zuzana Čaputová admitted she was shocked by the verdict and added she believes the families of the murdered couple deserve to see those who ordered the murder bear the consequences of their deeds.

The verdict is unjust, we are disappointed, say parents of Kuciak and Kušnírová Read more 

PM Igor Matovič wrote he believed justice still awaits the people who are behind the murder.

Journalists and particularly the colleagues of Ján Kuciak from did not hide their disappointment, while international media freedom watchdogs called for an end to impunity.

Shock and shame. Slovakia responds to the verdict in the Kuciak murder case Read more 

News about the coronavirus in Slovakia:

  • Tests have returned 121 new positive results.
  • A kindergarten in the Bratislava borough of Ružinov, at Haburská Street, has been closed preventatively after coronavirus was confirmed in one of the children who attended the kindergarten last week. It is the second kindergarten to close due to the coronavirus in September, after a private nursery in Petržalka, where a child that tested positive for COVID-19 attended the first day on September 2.

In other news

  • The expected disciplinary proceeding session with former general prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka will not take place on Friday after Trnka excused himself.
  • Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has expressed support for the Czech Republic, after China threatened the country following a visit by Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil to Taiwan.
  • Nigel Baker has submitted his credentials to President Zuzana Čaputová and started officially serving as the UK Ambassador to Slovakia on Thursday.

  • Revenues in retail have gone up in the y-o-y comparison for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak. In July, the revenues went up by 1.5 percent in the annual comparison, the first rise after February. (Statistics Office)
  • Courts granted temporary protection to 31 companies in August and scrapped it for two companies based on their own requests. (CRIF – Slovak Credit Bureau)
  • 16 experts, including former finance minister Ivan Mikloš and deputy governor of the National Bank of Slovakia Ľudovít Ódor, propose Slovakia should base its economic growth on education, new industry and quality of life. (Denník N)
  • The sale of e-cars in Slovakia was up in the second quarter in the year-on-year comparison almost four-fold, to 310 cars. It is the fastest growth in the EU. (Denník N)

Also on today:

Slovakia will summon Belgian ambassador over police violence case Read more  A trip to LA won a Slovak violinist collaboration with Avril Lavigne Read more  Some higher, some lower. Laser measurements prove previous heights of Tatra peaks incorrect Read more 

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