Thousands march in Slovakia for slain journalist

Thousands march in memory of murdered Slovak journalist

Thousands march in memory of murdered Slovak journalist

Slovaks paid a final farewell Saturday to Jan Kuciak, an investigative journalist who was shot dead with his fiancee, with the archbishop declaring that everyone in the nation now wanted to know about Italian mafia influence, thanks to Kuciak's reporting.

Slain Slovak investigative journalist was laid to rest in his wedding suit on Saturday as hundreds of mourners packed a Roman Catholic church in the northern Slovak village of Stiavnik, an AFP journalist reported.

Slovak authorities have reportedly released at least six of the seven people detained in connection with the murder.

Police confirmed their release but gave no details.

Marching behind a banner saying "An attack on journalists = an attack on all of us" and pictures of the two victims, most walked in silence and many carried candles. The murder prompted demands from Fico's coalition partners for the resignation of senior officials.

The seven Italians were taken into custody on Thursday in police raids in the eastern town of Michalovce.

Kuciak was about to publish an article that raised possible political links between Italian businessmen operating in Slovakia and the 'Ndrangheta.

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Najib Danish, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the source of the explosion was a vehicle belonging to a foreign company. No militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The allegations in Kuciak's report triggered an angry rebuke from Fico, who showed reporters stacks of euro bills totalling the one-million-euro ($1.2-million) reward he has offered for information that could lead to the killers. His last, unfinished article was published posthumously by Slovak and global media.

The FBI, Britain's Scotland Yard and Europol are helping with Slovak police with the investigation. It follows the October 2017 assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had denounced corruption in Malta.

The rallies are taking place amid calls for worldwide experts to join the investigation and for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was linked to corruption scandals in the past, to resign.

After Kalinak, a close ally of Fico in their leftist Smer-Social Democracy party, said Saturday he had no plans to resign, Most-Hid announced that its leadership will meet March 15 to discuss the future of the coalition.

Fico once referred to journalists as "dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes".

Christophe Deloire, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) secretary-general said "tonight Bratislava is the world capital of press freedom", after having held talks with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico earlier in the day. The visit is scheduled to last until Friday, said German MEP Ingeborg Grassle.

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