A police officer is seen in Vrutky, Slovakia, on June 11, 2020. Journalist Peter Sabo recently received a threatening object in his mailbox. (Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa)

Slovak investigative reporter Peter Sabo receives pistol cartridge in mailbox

Berlin, June 26, 2020 — Slovak authorities should conduct a quick and thorough investigation into threats to journalist Peter Sabo and ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday, Sabo, a reporter for online news site Aktuality.sk, found a pistol cartridge in his mailbox in Bratislava, according to a report from his employer. Sabo covers organized crime in the country and has reported on the investigations into the 2018 killing of Aktuality.sk journalist Ján Kuciak, according to a report by local newspaper SME.

Sabo filed a criminal complaint about the incident, and police have opened an investigation, according to SME.

“Slovak authorities must swiftly and thoroughly investigate the threatening object sent to journalist Peter Sabo,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said, in New York. “Authorities must take this case seriously and do everything they can to avoid further threats and ensure the reporter’s safety.”

In an editorial, Aktuality.sk editor-in-chief Peter Bárdy wrote that “after the experience of more than two years ago, I know that if it is not a joke, it can kill.” He also alleged that early threats against Kuciak were not taken seriously enough by authorities.

CPJ emailed the Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the police, but did immediately receive any reply.

Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were killed on February 21, 2018, according to CPJ research.