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Slovak police free Italian suspects held after journalist murder

Slovak police free Italian suspects held after journalist murder

"During the legal timeframe - 48 hours - (police) checked and searched for facts needed for an indictment. After 48 hours, detainees were released", police said in a statement on Saturday.

In his last story, Kuciak's linked several businesses operating in Slovakia to the Italian mafia and detailed past connections between the companies and two of Fico's aides.

Thousands marched in Bratislava and other Slovak cities on Friday, demanding swift action in response to a killing that has shocked the country and shaken its government.

Kuciak, 27, reported on tax and subsidy fraud and links between businessmen and local politicians.

Thousands of Slovaks are attending a national rally to honor an investigative journalist shot dead last week along with his partner.

Some of the protesters at the peaceful march then moved to the office of Prime Minister Fico to demand the government's resignation.

The seven suspects were detained during raids in seven locations in eastern Slovakia.

Police investigating Mr Kuciak's death detained seven people on Thursday, releasing partial names that matched subjects referred to in the final article. He has likened journalists to "filthy prostitutes".

Christophe Deloire, the director-general of Reporters Without Borders, on Friday said he asked Fico to "express regret after insulting journalists and commit to avoid weakening investigative journalism". Both Troskova and the secretary have denied any wrongdoing.

A retired Italian anti-Mafia prosecutor said Italian prosecutors had warned authorities in Slovakia of "dangerous" infiltration by a powerful organised crime syndicate before the killings.

Franco Roberti said on Italian radio: "We warned authorities in Bratislava, but unfortunately they didn't heed us" about the 'Ndrangheta syndicate's expansion into Slovakia.

Mr Roberti suggested the group may have killed the journalist as "there was no other way to silence" him.

Meanwhile, global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on March 2 warned European Union leaders against undermining the security of journalists in the wake of Kuciak's murder.

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