Slovak Investigative Journalist Killed at Home

Update: 02 Mar 2018 State replied
Year 26 Feb 2018 Country Slovak Republic Category Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Unknown Partner Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI , IPI , PEN , RSF Alert level Level 1
26 Feb 2018 Slovak Republic Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Unknown Index , Article 19 , AEJ , CPJ , EFJ/IFJ , INSI , IPI , PEN , RSF Level 1

Investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, who had been reporting on tax fraud, was shot dead at his home, news website Dennik N reported, citing the Interior Ministry. According to Dennik N, the murder took place in the journalist’s house in the village of Veľká Mača 5 km east of the capital Bratislava, some time between 22 and 25 February 2018 . Kuciak was shot in the chest and his fiancée was shot in the head. Kuciak worked for Slovak news website Aktuality.sk.

State replies

New 27 Feb 2018 : Statement of the Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the Council of Europe

Follow-ups

New 02 Mar 2018 : OSCE media freedom representative calls for full and transparent investigation of journalist’s murder at meeting with Slovak Prime Minister Fico
New 01 Mar 2018 : PACE President condemns murder of investigative journalist in the Slovak Republic
New 26 Feb 2018 : OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media representative strongly condemns murder of investigative reporter Kuciak in Slovakia
New 26 Feb 2018 : "If death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak is linked to his journalism, it would be an unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy".
New 26 Feb 2018 : Human Rights Commissioner: "I will raise the issue during upcoming visit to the country."

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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