Report indicates suspect in shooting of Slovakia PM Fico may have had political motive

May 16, 2024 by No Comments

The 71-year-old suspect who appeared in an undated Facebook video that may offer clues into his motive, in which he is heard saying “I do not agree with government policy,” reports say. Fico, 59, is expected to survive after being shot multiple times Wednesday while he was greeting supporters at an event outside a cultural center in the town of Handlova, Defense Minister Robert Kalina says. A suspect was swiftly arrested following the attack and an initial investigation found “a clear political motivation,” Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok added. In a video that has surfaced on Facebook, a person who matched images of the man taken into custody Wednesday was heard saying “I do not agree with government policy,” according to Reuters. “Liquidated mass media. Why is [public broadcaster] RTVS being attacked?” the man reportedly continued, while also questioning the removal of the chairman of a state judicial council. Slovakia’s government in late April had of the country’s public radio and television services, a move that critics say would result in the government taking full control of the media. Fico said the changes are needed because RTVS is politically biased and “is in conflict with the Slovak government.” The proposed changes would mean it is replaced by a new organization. But thousands rallied in Slovakia’s capital in March to condemn the plan, which was widely criticized by local journalists, the opposition, international media organizations and the European Commission, The Associated Press reports. Media in Slovakia say the suspect is a former shopping mall security guard and a member of a Slovak Society of Writers, according to Reuters. He reportedly has been and could face 25 years to life if convicted. President Biden and other international leaders have condemned the shooting, with Slovakia President-elect Peter Pellegrini calling it an “assassination attempt.”