who is the man arrested after shooting Prime Minister Robert Fico?

who is the man arrested after shooting Prime Minister Robert Fico?
who is the man arrested after shooting Prime Minister Robert Fico?

Juraj Cintula, 71, identified by Slovak media as a local writer, owned a legally registered firearm. No information has been given at this stage on his exact motivations.

A country still in shock. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, 59, was the victim of an assassination attempt this Wednesday, May 15 after a cabinet meeting held in Handlova, in the center of the country.

Hit by several bullets, one of which struck the abdomen, the political leader was between life and death before a surgical operation carried out in the evening. Since then, the news regarding his state of health has been reassuring.

“I think that ultimately he will survive. He is not in a situation that threatens his survival at the moment,” Tomáš Taraba, Slovak vice-president, told the BBC. However, his condition is still considered “very serious.”

“Tonight, doctors managed to stabilize the patient’s condition,” Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak, who is also Defense Minister, said on Thursday. “Unfortunately, the condition remains very serious, because his injuries are complicated,” he added during a press briefing in front of the Roosevelt Hospital in Banska Bystrica.

A local writer

At the same time, the investigation continues in order to understand the circumstances and motivations of this assassination attempt. Immediately after the incident, Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old man from the center of the country, identified by Slovak media as a local writer, was arrested.

“I think I can confirm it, yes,” replied Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok to journalists who questioned him about the identity of the shooter, who according to media reports is one of the founders of the Duha literary club ( rainbow), in the town of Levice.

The local press, including the daily Dennik N., adds that the suspect is the author of several collections of poetry and that he is a member of the official association of Slovak writers. The association confirmed on Facebook that he had been a member since 2015, and that if the facts were confirmed “the membership of this despicable person would be immediately canceled”.

“He didn’t vote for him”

The suspect’s son told news site aktuality.sk that his father had a legally registered firearm. Asked about his father’s feelings about Robert Fico, he replied: “I’ll tell you one thing: he didn’t vote for him. That’s all I can say.” Several statements from the suspect are available on social networks.

In a video posted online eight years ago, he said: “The world is full of violence and guns. People seem to be going crazy.” He also claimed to have founded a “Movement Against Violence” in Levice, which defines itself on its Facebook page as “an emerging political party whose goal is to prevent the spread of violence in society.” No additional information was given this Thursday morning on his motivations.

After returning to power as prime minister in October, Robert Fico questioned Ukraine’s sovereignty and stopped all military aid to the country. This former member of the Communist Party, who founded his own party and rejects the labels of “populist” and “demagogue”, opposed sanctions against Russia. In April, he nevertheless made a change of tone regarding the war in Ukraine, advocating a peaceful solution which respects the “territorial integrity” of this country.

His ally in the government, Peter Pellegrini, won the presidential election last month, well ahead of a pro-European diplomat, by making the war in Ukraine a key element of the campaign in this country of 5.4 million inhabitants, member of the European Union and NATO. Its government coalition notably adopted a controversial bill on public radio and television RTVS which the government accuses of lacking objectivity

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