Slovakians rally after a journalist was murdered

BRATISLAVA-FICO-MEMORIAL-JAN-REUTERS

Police in Slovakia have released seven people detained in connection with the killing of a journalist investigating the mafia, and his fiancée.

Slovaks have paid a final farewell to Jan Kuciak, an investigative journalist who was shot dead with his fiancee, with the archbishop declaring that everyone in the nation now wanted to know about Italian mafia influence thanks to Kuciak's reporting. Kuciak had been looking into suspected mafia links among Italian businessmen in eastern Slovakia at the time of his death. "After 48 hours, detainees were released", police said in a statement Saturday.

Al Jazeera's Charlotte Bellis reports.

His last, unfinished article was published posthumously by Slovak and worldwide media.

Similar marches were being held in some 25 towns and cities across the country and in cities overseas, including London, Paris and Brussels.

On Friday, thousands of marchers braved freezing temperatures and held protest vigils across the country.

Slovakian president Andrej Kiska joined about 20,000 people in the capital Bratislava on Friday.

One demonstrator, Jozef Belovic, told Reuters: "There is a dirty mess all around here. and we common people have to put up with it".

Some moved on to the government office to call on prime minister Robert Fico's administration to resign.

The murdered pair were due to marry in May.

It came on the day mourners gathered to remember Jan Kuciak at his funeral and vowed to keep the spirit of his work alive.

In his investigation, Kuciak alleged that Italian businessmen with ties to the feared Calabrian organised crime syndicate 'Ndrangheta had settled in eastern Slovakia, and spent years embezzling European Union funds for this relatively poor region on the border with Ukraine.

Police said on Saturday: "The investigator has, within the legal timeframe (48 hours) at his disposal, checked the facts necessary to bring charges".

Prime Minister Fico has offered a €1m ($1.2m; £890,000) reward for anyone who comes forward with information about the case. "An attack on a journalist is also an attack on the freedom of our country, we must not allow it".

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