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01.11.2018

Ján Kuciak's father: 'journalists should not be afraid to write'

By ECPMF

It’s almost nine months since the assassination of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee in Slovakia. ECPMF’s Legal Advisor Flutura Kusari travelled to Bratislava again to monitor the state of the murder investigations. She also met Ján Kuciak’s parents. This is the interview.

Ján Kuciak's parents' home A memory wall in the home of Ján Kuciak's parents (photo: ECPMF)

Jána Kuciakova and Jozef Kuciak, the parents of murdered journalist Ján Kuciak, live a two-hour drive from Bratislava. Štiavnik is a small town in the Javorníky mountains in the North with a little over 4000 residents, dimly lit streets, houses with big yards, and a lot of dogs. Ján Kuciak's parents are friendly and open, and they start smiling whenever their son’s name is mentioned. They let the ECPMF into their house to talk about Ján. An interpreter facilitated our conversation. On our way into the living room we passed the pink coloured hallway plastered with photos of Ján and Martina who were supposed to get married last summer.

Do you trust the Slovak authorities to find those who ordered your son’s murder?

Jozef Kuciak: Yes, now I believe that the case will be investigated. There are people who are suspected to have committed the crime, and now it is time to find out who ordered the assassination. In the beginning I did not believe in the investigations because there were connections between the police, politicians and the people on whom Ján did report. Also, at the crime scene there were people who were not supposed to be there. That’s why we could not trust the police. But now I want to trust the authorities.

Do you feel supported by the Slovak government?

I am an apolitical person myself. I am afraid that a lot of politicians used the murder for their own purposes. The current political situation shows that there are not many decent people in politics. This generation of politicians needs to be replaced quickly, and young people should take their place.

Did you ever worry about Ján because of his work?

I was surprised when he decided to become an investigative journalist, and for a long time I did not know why. Just recently, when I was looking at his things, I realised that he has been writing since he was young and was influenced by the books he read. You know, in the week when he was killed, Ján and Martina were busy preparing their wedding. When we could not get in contact with them, we thought it was because of that… Then we were informed about what happened. I don't remember what happened in those three days because it was difficult for me...

Ján was very curious about everything and kept overthinking things. He always had so many questions, 'why,' he kept asking, 'why, why, why' about everything. Maybe some people thought he was a bit strange. But he had his group of friends. We have three children and each of them is different. Ján was always silent, he never raised his voice, never shouted. He always found a way to explain what he means through dialogue. He was very sensitive.

Jána Kuciak: I keep waiting for them to come home. I cannot accept the fact that they will never come.

Do you feel supported by Slovak civil society?

Jozef Kuciak: Most of the people support us but there are also exceptions. Some people are against us but they are influenced by journalists and politicians. Some politicians have said that Ján was financed by foreign countries. Unfortunately, some of our politicians identify with Hungarian politics and they believe that everything is because of Soros.

Did things change in Slovakia since Ján was murdered?

Things have not changed, things are the same. Although Mr Fico [Prime Minister Robert Fico] is gone, he still controls the government. I myself reflect more about life now. I am grateful what the international community is doing for us, and I hope you will continue with your support and not give up on us. Journalists should not be afraid to write. Maybe sometimes it is painful for them but if there would be no pressure coming from journalists there would be no proper investigation into the murder. As long as there is pressure from journalists, citizens and international organisations there is hope.





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