Slovak MEPs Send Letter to EP Chief Sassoli over Chovanec Case

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EP President David Sassoli (photo by TASR/AP)

Brussels, September 7 (TASR-correspondent) – The European Parliament (EP) must take all necessary steps to ensure that the death of Slovak national Jozef Chovanec is not left unanswered by this institution, which represents the voice of all citizens of the European Union – this is the main message of a letter sent by a group of Slovak MEPs to EP President David-Maria Sassoli.

TASR was informed about the initiative on Monday by MEP and head of the EP Employment and Social Affairs Committee Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS), who is an initiator of the joint letter.

“The role of the police is to protect and serve citizens. However, rather the opposite happened in the case of Jozef Chovanec. The European Parliament, as an institution defending human rights worldwide, must take a strong and unequivocal position on the inappropriate action by Belgian law enforcement authorities,” reads the letter signed by ten Slovak MEPs.

“We call for this incident to be addressed quickly, effectively and with full respect for the rule of law and human rights. We also call on Belgian authorities to investigate this case thoroughly and bring those responsible to justice,” wrote Slovak MEPs.

In addition to Duris Nicholsonova, the joint letter has been signed by her party mate Eugen Jurzyca, Vladimir Bilcik and Michal Wiezik (both Together-OD), Miriam Lexmann and Ivan Stefanec (Christian Democratic Movement/KDH), Peter Pollak (OLaNO), Monika Benova (Smer-SD), Martin Hojsik and Michal Simecka (Progressive Slovakia).

These MEPs expressed their concern in connection with Jozef Chovanec’s case and wrote Sassoli that this “heinous incident with the expression of extremism” is incompatible with EU values.

“Therefore, we are asking the EP President for a public condemnation of the Belgian police’s action. We also demand that the next plenary session is launched with a minute of silence as an expression of our support for Jozef Chovanec’s family,” said Jurzyca.

If Sassoli satisfies their request, the EP should hold the minute of silence in memory of Jozef Chovanec on Monday (September 14) at the beginning of the September plenary session.

Last week several Slovak MEPs signed a call to Belgian Federal Police commissioner-general Marc De Mesmaeker to do his utmost for transparent investigation into the case. The call was initiated by MEP Ivan Stefanec.

Chovanec died in February 2018 following a tussle with the police at Brussels South Charleroi Airport and subsequent inappropriate action by the Belgian police. This action is still a subject of judicial inquiry.