Did Slovak Police Foul Evidence in Journalist’s Murder?

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Slovak police may have inadvertently destroyed evidence through negligence at the scene of the murder of an investigative journalist in a case that prompted mass street protests and the prime minister’s resignation, reports Reuters. Journalist Jan Kuciak, who had written about political corruption in Slovakia, was found shot dead along with his girlfriend at their home in February. The Kuciak family’s lawyer, Daniel Lipsic, a former Slovak interior minister, said the two bodies had been moved without being examined by a forensic surgeon at the crime scene and this led to an incorrect initial pronouncement of the time of death. “I don’t understand why more experienced investigators from the National Crime Agency were not called immediately, and arrived at the crime scene hours after the district police,” Lipsic said.

“Some evidence was not secured immediately but was only discovered in photographs from the crime scene,” said Lipsic. “This is a serious dereliction of duty. We don’t know how much evidence may have been destroyed.” Pictures from the crime scene published by the Slovak media also show that National Crime Agency’s anti-corruption section chief, Robert Krajmer, who does not directly investigate murders, was also present. The murder case forced the resignations of veteran prime minister Robert Fico, his interior minister and Slovakia’s police chief. It also exacerbated worries about media freedom in ex-communist eastern Europe. No one has been charged with the murder, which a prosecutor has said was probably a contract killing.

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