Europe

Jan Kuciak: Four charged over murder of journalist and fiancée

A table, covered in white linen, supports more than a dozen red candles alongside the two photos of Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova
Image caption The murder of Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova convulsed Slovak society

Four people, including a high-profile businessman, have been charged in Slovakia with the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée last year.

Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova, both aged 27, were shot dead in February 2018.

Powerful entrepreneur Marian Kocner and two alleged accomplices have pleaded not guilty to the murders that triggered mass protests and the downfall of a prime minister.

A fourth person has confessed to the shooting.

A final suspect admitted organising the murder but agreed a plea deal with prosecutors to act as a witness in the trial of the others.

The young reporter wrote about corrupt Slovak businessmen, EU subsidy and VAT fraud, and Italy's notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia and its attempts to cultivate ties with Slovak politicians.

He was gunned down with his fiancée inside their home in the capital Bratislava.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption About 25,000 marched through Bratislava to mark the first anniversary of the murders.

The killings sparked mass protests which prompted Prime Minister Robert Fico to resign.

Prosecutors accuse Kocner, who had been a focus of Kuciak's reporting, of ordering the murders. He denies this.

The four suspects are facing life behind bars on charges including premeditated murder.

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