ECPMF and OSCE in Slovakia for solidarity and justice for Jàn and Martina

By Jane Whyatt

A delegation of Europe’s top media freedom campaigners has brought together the families and employer of murdered journalist Jàn Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. 

ECPMF and OSCE in Slovakia for solidarity and justice for Jàn and Martina ECPMF's Flutura Kusari at the solidarity meeting for Jan Kuciak and Martina Kušnírova. Photo: David Ištok/

They were shot dead in February 2018, at their home in Velka Mača, a small Slovakian town. Four people have now been charged in connection with the shootings and with masterminding and paying for the assassination. The trial concerning the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová will start on Thursday 19. December. The indictment will be preliminarily heard starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Judicial Academy building in Pezinok.

Flutura Kusari, Legal Advisor of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s High Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir travelled to Slovakia to meet the families. The talks included Jàn Kuciak’s colleagues at the independent news site

Kusari says: "Jàn and Martina’s families are an inspiration. Despite their great loss, they are motivated to continue to fight for justice and for a better Slovakia. It is an honour to have the chance to speak to them. We have assured the family that ECPMF and its partner organisations will monitor the trial against the four people suspected of having assassinated Jàn and Martina."

After the fatal shootings, demonstrators filled the streets of Slovakia’s cities. It was revealed that Jàn Kuciak had alerted the police that he was receiving threats connected to his work as an investigative journalist. But that the police had not acted on this information. The Prime Minister, Culture Minister, Justice Minister and Chief of Police resigned. Under the new police chief, the murder investigation made progress and four people are now indicted.

The defendants:

Marian Kočner

Tomáš Szabó

Miroslav Marček

Alena Zsuzsová

charged 21.10.2018. 

The indictment concerns six crimes, including two first-degree murders. Currently, all the accused are all in custody.

Harlem Désir’s involvement in this solidarity mission gives a strong focus to Slovakia, which currently holds the OSCE’s rotating presidency. 

Désir says: “There can be no impunity for Jàn Kuciak’s assassination and that of his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová. They have become a symbol of a whole generation that fights for democratic values, for the end of corruption and for justice.”

During the solidarity visit, Kusari paid tribute to the pair by laying flowers at the memorial shrine.


ECPMF and OSCE in Slovakia for solidarity and justice for Jàn and Martina Winter flowers and candles at the shrine to Jàn Kuciak and Martina Kušnírova

Jàn Kuciak was well known as a fearless investigative journalist, skilled in the latest techniques of data harvesting and working internationally with colleagues in the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). After meeting the families, it became clear too that Martina Kušnírová was every bit as committed to truth and justice as her fiancé. 

ECPMF’s Flutura Kusari notes:

"Martina's mother told us how she wanted to become a police officer, but that was not possible as she would have to pay a 5,000 euro bribe. Martina had a very good sense of justice and was always interested in politics. When Jàn was writing articles, she used to help him." 

ECPMF continues to stand in solidarity with Jàn and Martina’s families; it will monitor the hearings, and provide legal and other advice where necessary.

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Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –