PEN Berlin is concerned about the situation of freedom of expression in Slovakia after the left-wing populist politician Robert Fico again won the parliamentary elections on Sunday. “No one should forget that Fico had to resign in the wake of the protests following the brutal murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová,” said PEN Berlin spokesperson Deniz Yücel.
The background to the double murder has never been clarified, despite numerous indications of the involvement of the highest authorities within the then Fico government. “The fact that this apparently no longer matters to almost a quarter of Slovaks is shocking,” Yücel said. Even if a coalition government were to be formed under Fico’s leadership, he said, the maxim would still apply: “Even as an elected head of government, Fico remains what he is: a left-wing populist and Putin supporter with links to organised crime and unresolved involvement in the murder of Jan and Martina.”
PEN Berlin stands in solidarity with all Slovak journalists, writers and intellectuals who continue to fight for the rule of law in their country and a full investigation into the double murder. Peter Bárdy, editor-in-chief of Kuciak’s online magazine Aktuality.sk, said after the election results: “Aktuality.sk will stand by you even in difficult times. We are not going anywhere. We will be with you, but we need you. That was addressed to the Slovaks. And European politicians should watch carefully to ensure that Prime Minister Fico does not start the vendetta against Kuciak’s colleagues and other critics that he has already announced.
PEN Berlin. We stand by our word.