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Policemen stand guard at the crime scene where Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were murdered in Velka Maca, Slovakia, on February 26, 2018. (AFP/Vladimir Simicek)

Slovak investigative journalist, girlfriend found shot to death

February 26, 2018 11:31 AM ET

Berlin, February 26, 2018 --The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Slovakia to quickly and effectively investigate the killing of Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and hold all the perpetrators to account. Kuciak and his girlfriend, Martina Kušnířova were on Sunday found shot to death in his house in Velká Mača, Slovakia, local media reported.

Police president Tibor Gašpar said that the murders were "most likely" linked to the work of the journalist, Reuters reported. Kuciak worked for the news website Aktuality, where he investigated tax fraud associated with individuals close to the ruling social democratic party Smer, according to Reuters. His last story for Aktuality, on February 9, looked at suspected tax fraud linked to a luxury apartment complex in Bratislava, Reuters reported. Kuciak had previously reported to police that was threatened because of his journalism, according to The Associated Press.

"Slovak authorities must swiftly deliver justice for Ján Kuciak, which will only occur when all parties involved in his murder are prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney in New York. "This killing is a grim reminder that when journalists are threatened because of their work, the threats must be taken seriously."

If CPJ confirms that Kuciak was murdered because of his reporting, he will be the first journalist killed in relation to their work in Slovakia. According to CPJ research, at least 251 journalists worldwide who covered corruption have been singled out for murder in reprisal for their work since 1992.

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