Suspect Admits to Assassination of Slovak Journalist Jan Kuciak at Trial Start
Murky Slovak businessman Marian Kocner is accused of ordering the murder to prevent the journalist from exposing further his activities.
The trial for the high-profile assassination of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová in 2018 has begun with the murder suspect confessing to the crime.
Kuciak was covering mostly tax fraud, government corruption, and ties between Slovak politicians and the Italian mafia, and the double murder of him and his fiancée has been making global headlines.
“I am guilty in point one,” 37-year-old Miroslav Marček told the court in Slovakia’s Pezinok on Monday, January 13, as cited by The Slovak Spectator.
“I knocked on the door, Mr. Kuciak opened, I shot him in the chest,” Marcek, a former professional soldier, told the court, while also apologizing to the victim’s families.
“Unfortunately, I saw that there was one more person, she ran into the kitchen and I shot her there,” he added, referring to Kuciak’s fiancée Kusnirova, as cited by AFP and France24.
“Seeing them on TV and seeing their pain made me tell what happened. I’m sorry, but I can’t undo it,” said Marcek, who is one of a total of five people suspect in Jan Kuciak’s assassination.
“Nothing can replace what we took from them. I am aware of what we have committed,” he concluded, as cited by The Slovak Spectator.
In December 2019, 42-year-old Zoltán Andruskó confessed to his role as the intermediary in the murder, and testified against the others in a pre-trial hearing, ending up with a prison term of 15 years as part of a deal with the prosecution.
The trial with the four other suspects people began at the Specialized Criminal Court of Slovakia is set to continue with eight more sessions throughout January and February.
Tomas Szabo, another suspect charged in the murder, denied any wrongdoing.
“When Marcek came back to the car he said he found two dead bodies,” Szabo said, adding that Marcek, who is his cousin, rejected his suggestion to report the bodies to the police.
“I have nothing to do with the murders,” Szabo told the court before refusing to submit to questioning.
Slovak businessman Marian Kocner (pictured above) is accused of ordering the assassination. He refused to comment about his murder indictment.
“[Kocner decided] to get rid of Jan Kuciak physically and thus prevent further disclosure of his (Kocner’s) activities” after failing to find “any dirt” to discredit the journalist, the indictment reads.
Prosecutors argue that Andrusko served as a go-between in the murder, hiring gunmen Marcek and his cousin Szabo at the request of his friend Alena Zsuzsova, who was in turn following orders from mastermind Kocner.
Zsuzsova denied arranging the hit with Ardrusko as she testified before the court on Monday.
“[I have] not ordered any murder in my life,” she said, describing the accusations as “an absolute lie”.
“If convicted, the accused face a minimum 25 years to life imprisonment,” said Jana Tokolyova, a spokeswoman for Slovakia’s special prosecutor’s office.
The assassination of journalist Jan Kuciak has rattled Slovakia’s politics, triggering mass anti-corruption protests, forcing then Prime Minister Robert Fico to resign, and catapulting anti-corruption activist Zuzana Čaputová to the country’s Presidency.
(Banner image: Video grab from The Slovak Spectator)