Zsuzsova Sentenced To 25 Years For Ordering Journalist Kuciak’s Murder; Kocner Acquitted
Alena Zsuzsova to 25 years in prison for mediating the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, in which his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová was also killed. Photo credit: Freepik.
Pezinok, West Slovakia May 19 (CTK) – A Slovak Special Criminal Court sentenced Alena Zsuzsova to 25 years in prison for mediating the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak, in which his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová was also killed, the court’s panel chairwoman Ruzena Sabova said today.
The Special Criminal Court acquitted Zsuzsova of the same charges in September 2020, but the Supreme Court annulled the verdict in 2021. The verdict of the new trial has not taken effect yet.
The court panel also found Zsuzsova guilty of involvement in the preparation of the planned murder of former elite prosecutor Maros Zilinka, Sabova said. The new punishment also includes Zsuzsova’s previous sentence for involvement in another murder, for which she received 21 years in prison.
Meanwhile, the court again acquitted co-defendant Marian Kocner of ordering the murder of Kuciak, as well as former prosecutors Zilinka and Peter Sufliarsky and lawyer Daniel Lipsic. The latter three murders were not carried out. Zilinka is now prosecutor general and Lipsic heads the Special Prosecution Office.
Controversial businessman Kocner has been serving a long prison sentence for forging bills of exchange. The prosecution said Kocner masterminded Kuciak’s murder to take revenge on him. Kuciak had been writing about the dubious business activities of Kocner, which could frustrate his planned political career. Zsuzsova was said to be Kocner’s mistress, whom he allegedly used to produce compromising materials to blackmail and control Slovak politicians, prosecutors, judges and policemen.
During the court proceedings, the prosecution pointed to the frequent contact between Kocner and Zsuzsova, who communicated through mobile applications, often using codes. The effort to murder Zilinka was connected with his work as the prosecutor supervising the investigation into allegations that Kocner had illegally gained control over a company he wanted to influence, and about which Kuciak was writing. Lipsic was also active in this case as a lawyer.
Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova were shot dead in their house in February 2018. Three people including the killer have been serving heavy prison sentences for this murder.
Kuciak’s murder stirred up mass protests and a political crisis, which resulted in the resignation of prime minister Robert Fico in 2018. His Smer-SD party ended up in opposition after its defeat in the February 2020 general election. However, ahead of the snap general election scheduled for this September, Smer-SD is again the most popular party in the country, according to opinion polls.