The Supreme Court has released former interior minister Robert Kaliňák from pretrial custody.
Kaliňák had been in custody since April 23, following a ruling by the Specialised Criminal Court in the so-called Súmrak (Twilight) case. Together with former prime minister and current opposition leader Robert Fico, Kaliňák faces charges of founding a criminal group, abusing the authority of a public official and violating tax secrecy.
A Supreme Court senate composed of judges Peter Hatala, Juraj Kliment and Peter Štift, ruled unanimously to scrap the first-instance-court ruling that had sent Kaliňák to custody. Kaliňák had appealed against the earlier ruling.
"The Supreme Court senate considers the criminal prosecution as founded on all points that he is charged with," Supreme Court spokesperson Alexandra Važanová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. Yet the senate saw no reason for pretrial custody on the grounds cited by prosecutors, i.e. that Kaliňák might attempt to influence witnesses.
All of the Supreme Court's senate members reported potential bias related to the case, but another senate of the Supreme Court ruled on May 1 that these biases were not an issue, the spokesperson specified.
Kaliňák was detained on April 20, 2022. Robert Fico, who is also charged, was not arrested since he is a sitting member of parliament. His fellow MPs declined, in a vote on May 4, to support a request by prosecutors to allow him to be taken into custody.
Fico and Kaliňák will both now be prosecuted at large. Lawyer Marek Para, who has also been charged as part of the Twilight case, has been in pretrial custody since May 2, when the Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Specialised Criminal Court not to allow his arrest.