Thousands march in Slovakia for slain journalist

Thousands march in Slovakia for slain journalist

A police statement said the seven suspects were released because no evidence had emerged during the 48 hours they can be legally detained.

Leading the funeral mass, Bratislava Archbishop Stanislav Zvolensky told hundreds of mourners packed into the local Roman Catholic church that "if the murderer thought he was able to silence Jan, he was wrong".

About 20,000 people took to the streets in Slovakia's capital Bratislava on Friday to demand a fair investigation into the murder of a journalist.

The junior Most-Hid party said worldwide investigators should be invited to join local police to aid transparency, and also called on Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, a close ally of Fico, whose business acquaintances had been subjects of Kuciak's earlier articles, to resign.

"During the legal time frame - 48 hours - [police] checked and searched for facts needed for an indictment".

The rallies are taking place amid calls for worldwide experts to join the investigation and for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was linked to corruption scandals in the past, to resign.

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.

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Police broke through the houses of the seven men, who were believed to be related to Italian mafia groups.

Slovak media reported that among those held was businessman Antonino Vadala - the owner of several companies - and some of his relatives, alleged by Kuciak to have links to the mafia and contacts in the Slovak government.

Two close Fico associates were forced to resign after the article was posthumously published on Wednesday, while one minister quit in protest.

Prime Minister Fico has offered a €1m ($1.2m; £890,000) reward for anyone who comes forward with information about the case.

The ultranationalist Slovak National Party is the third member of the coalition.

Mr Fico is known for his numerous attacks on the media.