Slovakia marks a year since the murder of young journalist

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in public squares across Slovakia to commemorate the death of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, who were shot in targeted killing one year ago.

Four people – three men and a woman – are in custody for the murder of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kusnirova, both aged 27 at the time.

The Slovak authorities, who refer to the suspects by initials only, say three of them are accused of first-degree murder. No date has yet been set for their trial.

“We have been gathering for a year, calling for decency and justice,” said Karolina Farská and Juraj Šeliga, founders of the Initiative for a Decent Slovakia (Za slusne Slovensko). “We have created a community that demands new ways of good governance, asks for decency, rejects arrogance and hatred, and demands truth and justice instead of lies and unrestrained populism.”

“We are angry at those who do not have the courage to take personal responsibility,” the organisers continued. “Titles, ranks, and positions are more valuable to them than humility and respect for the truth and education. We are ashamed of the cynicism and disrespect of people holding public offices.”

Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová were found dead at their home in the town of Vel’ka Mača near the country’s capital Bratislava. He had been investigating alleged corruption linked to Italian organised crime – a story which would, after his death, bring down the government of former prime minister Robert Fico.