Judges are expected to reach a verdict on September 3 in the trial of three people accused of killing journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová, in 2018, a landmark case that shook Slovakia to its core.
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Two of those accused of the murder, including gunman Miroslav Marček and go-between Zoltán Andruskó, have already been found guilty and sentenced.
Three of their co-defendants, including those accused of masterminding the killings in retaliation for Kuciak’s investigative reporting into corruption and organised crime in the country, will hear their verdicts in open court after they were postponed on August 4.
Businessman Marián Kočner is accused of threatening the journalist following the publication of a story about his business dealings while two others, Alena Zsuzsová and Tomas Szabó, are accused of helping him organise the fatal shooting. It is alleged that Kočner paid Marcek to carry out the killings.
‘A renaissance of civil society’
The murder of the young couple rocked Slovakia, leading to mass street protests and eventually the resignation of the government when it emerged that Kočner had close links with judges, a former prosecutor general and other figures in the judiciary.
It was also revealed that Kočner also had around three-dozen journalists placed under surveillance, using personal data from police databases.
Kuciak, 27, had been reporting on corruption, tax fraud and links between high-ranking Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia for Slovakian news site aktuality.sk before he was gunned down in his home on February 21, 2018.
His murder sent shockwaves through Slovakia and sparked the biggest street protests since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Three weeks after the killing, Prime Minister Robert Fico and his cabinet resigned amid deep public anger at perceived graft at the highest echelons of power.