Update | Slovakia: Suspects in journalist's murder released

Slovak Prime minister had offered €1 million for information about the investigative journalist's murder • Slovak Police said they were looking into possible foreign links and were in contact with Czech Republic and Italy

Slovak Prime minister stands besides the cash prize (Photo: BBC)
Slovak Prime minister stands besides the cash prize (Photo: BBC)

The seven suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak have all been released.

In a statement the police said that the suspects had been released as no substantial evidence had been found within the legal timeframe of 48 hours during which the suspects could be detained.  

Kuciak was an investigative journalist and was writing an article debunking corruption allegations that were linked to Italian organised crime in Slovakia.

One of the suspects that has been released is an Italian who has done business deals with officials close to Slovakian Prime minister Roberto Fico.

A man lights a candle as tribute for the murder of the journalist and his girlfriend (Photo: Reuters)
A man lights a candle as tribute for the murder of the journalist and his girlfriend (Photo: Reuters)

Slovakian General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár has reacted to the recent assassination of Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak.

In a statement during a press-briefing to journalists Čižnár said, “This is not Malta, this is not Russia where they shoot journalists, we are in Slovakia and as long as I am here, this cannot happen here.”

Kuciak’s death has sparked outrage with protest marches wide-spread across 25 cities. 

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico had offered a one million euro reward for information about the murder of the journalist.

Fico held a press conference on Tuesday, where he stood by piles of banknotes that the government is promising in exchange for information about the killings.

Jan Kuciak, 27, and his partner Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in their home, 65km east of the capital.

Both were found with single gunshot wounds on Sunday.

During the Tuesday press conference Fico complained about "political abuse of a tragedy" after opposition politicians held a news conference making accusations linking the ruling Smer party to the killings.

Opposition groups have called for fresh anti-corruption protests in the capital Bratislava on Wednesday.

Slovak police are also looking into possible foreign links to the murder of the investigative journalist, and are in contact with services in the Czech Republic an Italy, the head of the police said on Tuesday.

Reports say he was about to publish an investigation linking the Italian mafia to high-level political corruption.

Police President Tibor Gaspar said on Tuesday that police have questioned around 20 people since Monday and were working on various hypotheses including the possibility that Kuciak was murdered due to his work.

Slovak media reported that among other topics, Kuciak has worked on suspected fraud involving European Union subsidies thought to have been siphoned off to the Italian mafia.

Kuciak had been working for Aktuality.sk, an online unit of Swiss and German-owned publisher Ringier Axel Springer, for three years.

He, like fellow murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, worked on the Panama Papers scandal.

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