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Thousands march in Slovakia for slain journalist

04 March 2018, 02:01 | Marta Robbins

Image Seven people have been arrested in connection with the killings

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the killings

Seven Italian businessmen were released by Slovak police yesterday, having been detained after they were named by murdered journalist Jan Kuciak in an incendiary report on alleged high-level political corruption related to the Mafia and allegations of misuse of European Union funds. It follows the October 2017 assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had denounced corruption in Malta.

The bodies of 27-year-old Mr Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kusnirova, were found on Sunday in their house in Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava. "After the 48 hours passed, the persons were released from detention", police spokeswoman Denisa Baloghova said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

His last, unfinished article was published posthumously by Slovak and worldwide media.

Police made seven arrests, including a businessman alleged to have links to the mafia in Italy and to officials close to Robert Fico, the Slovakian prime minister.

Thousands marched in Bratislava and other Slovak cities on Friday, demanding swift action in response to a killing that has shocked the country and shaken its government.

In Bratislava, marchers carried pictures of the dead couple along with a banner reading: "An attack on journalists is an attack on all of us".

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President Andrej Kiska led the protesters, said to number between 10,000 and 20,000, in a minute's silence.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has accused the opposition of using the murder as a "political tool to get people out on the streets and gain power".

The pair were due to marry in May. She was buried in her wedding gown in a ceremony attended by hundreds of mourners in the northern town of Gregorovce.

Kuciak's funeral is scheduled for later Saturday.

Christophe Deloire deplored what he called the "appalling climate for journalists" created by government leaders in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Prime Minister Fico has offered a €1m ($1.2m; £890,000) reward for anyone who comes forward with information about the case. "An attack on a journalist is also an attack on the freedom of our country, we must not allow it".



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