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Probe into Abduction of Former Slovak President’s Son Might Reopen

Parliamentary attempts to overturn controversial amnesty could lead to solving the case of Michal Kovac Jr.’s kidnapping. 

31 March 2017

The 1995 kidnapping of the son of former Slovak President Michal Kovac (pictured) is back in the spotlight, thanks to a new movie and a number of parliamentary initiatives, AFP writes.

 

The Slovak parliament passed yesterday a constitutional amendment scrapping amnesties “contrary to the principles of democracy and the rule of law," a direct reference to an amnesty passed in 1998 by former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar for "crimes committed in connection with the kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr." The kidnappers had apparently intended to take the younger Kovac to Germany where he had been accused of financial crimes. 

 

It has long been assumed that the Slovak Intelligence Service (SIS) had orchestrated the crime on Meciar’s orders to smear the president, who started his political career as an ally of Meciar before becoming a fierce rival and criticizing the prime minister for his undemocratic practices.

 

The vote targeting Meciar’s amnesty is scheduled for next week, AFP writes. Slovak President Andrej Kiska has 15 days to either approve or scrap it, according to The Slovak Spectator, which notes that “once it’s published in the collection of laws, at least 30 lawmakers must submit a motion to annul Meciar's amnesties, which must be passed with at least 90 votes.  “

 

One of factors that set in motion the review of the Kovac Jr. case was the release, earlier this month, of the movie “Kidnapping” (Unos), whose plot is related to the case, The Slovak Spectator writes, citing the daily SME.  Another sign that the time is ripe to review the case was a survey from the polling agency Focus, also published in early March, which showed that 63 percent of Slovaks were in favor of scrapping the amnesty.

 

Prime Minister Robert Fico spoke out recently in support of the amnesty, a position that, however, was at odds with other statements he has made in the past, The Slovak Spectator notes.

 

 

  • The investigation into the kidnapping also led to Ivan Lexa, former head of the SIS, who was suspected of having ordered the murder of Robert Remias. Remias, a former police officer, was a friend of Oskar Fegyveres, an SIS employee and key witness who confirmed that the SIS had masterminded the kidnapping of Kovac Jr. 

 

  • The kidnappers were apprehended in Austria as they tried to spirit Kovac over the border to Germany. After a confession by Fegyveres, the Austrian authorities sent Kovac Jr. back to Slovakia rather than Germany and raised the possibility that members of Slovak government agencies were involved.

 

  • Meciar, who has retired from politically life and rarely appears publicly, felt compelled to come forward to deny his involvement in the kidnapping, The Economist reported

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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