Bratislava, December 29 (TASR) – Former police chief Milan Lucansky, currently in custody over corruption-related charges, attempted to commit suicide and is in a critical state, TASR learnt from Justice Ministry spokesperson Peter Bubla on late Tuesday.
Prosecutor-General Maros Zilinka has paid a visit to Presov detention facility to check the situation in person, Prosecutor-General’s spokesperson Jana Tokolyova told TASR.
“All I can say is that no one has apprised me officially of the situation you’re asking about and I know only what I’ve learned from the media,” said Lucansky’s lawyer Matus Beresecky.
The news elicited immediate responses from political parties. According to non-parliamentary Voice-SD party of Peter Pellegrini, Lucansky’s attempt to take his own life is one of the consequences of the current climate in Slovakia, where the race to detain has become a staple of politics.
“The presumption of innocence has been completely disregarded. Indicted individuals are automatically labeled criminals and instead of prevention, the institute of custody has turned into a criminal instrument. In such a climate, those indicted who are convinced of their innocence bear their lot that much harder,” stated the Voice-SD spokeperson, while voicing hope that Lucansky’s life can still be saved.
This view was echoed by opposition’s Smer-SD, which assigns blame for Lucansky’s suicide attempt squarely on Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO).
According to Smer-SD, Matovic along with a coterie of politically active prosecutors have been misusing criminal prosecution for the fight against opposition. The Lucansky’s case is the “culmination of a tragic era in Slovak history, when the presumption of innocence is considered a relic of the past and the custody a torture tool legitimized by the Government”, said the party spokesperson.
House Chair Boris Kollar (We Are Family) stated that it’s necessary to exercise prudence in the case of ex-police chief Milan Lucansky’s suicide attempt and wait for the official investigation results.
“As a fellow human being, this news has made me feel very sorry and I’m sad that this happened. On the other hand, we must wait for the official information and investigation,” claimed Kollar, who voiced support to Lucansky’s family and hopes that the ex-police president’s life can still be saved.
Prime Minister Igor Matovic posted on Facebook that if someone failed to carry out their duties, no one will cover for them and they can expect to be ousted.
“The effort to turn this personal tragedy into a political issue, as attempted by some opposition politicians, is a display of absolute ruthlesness, insensitivity towards the family and the crossing of every political communication line,” posted Matovic.
Coalition’s For the People party leader Veronika Remisova pointed out that Lucansky has been held in custody not at the whim of the Government but based on a proper decision taken by a court at the proposal from investigators. “I spoke with Justice Minister Maria Kolikova (For the People) about this and the whole situation will be investigated accordingly,” she said.
Remisova pointed out that the latest development might benefit people who had reasons to fear Lucansky’s potential testimony. “Some politicians, however, have no qualms about dragging politics into this unfortunate situation and take advantage of the human tragedy,” she said, adding that the proposal to put Lucansky into custody was lodged by investigators who have been answering to Lucansky’s nominee since 2019.