Friday, June 21, 2024

Slovak PM shooting suspect named as 71-year-old writer and poet

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A man charged with attempted murder following the shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been named as 71-year-old Juraj Cintula.

The pensioner, from the town of Levice in western Slovakia, is said to be a writer and poet, according to local media reports.

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The suspected shooter was arrested at the scene of the attack in Handlova, Slovakia. Pic: Reuters

In one of his poems he describes how he grew up to be someone who strikes back, they say.

Eight years ago, however, he initiated the creation of a movement called Against Violence, and published a statement about it online.

Juraj Cintula was beaten while working as a security guard.
Pic: ENEX
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Cintula showing his injuries from when he was beaten up as a security guard. Pic: ENEX

Cintula previously worked as a security guard, during which time he was reportedly badly beaten by a man in a shop.

Meanwhile, one of his neighbours said he was “shocked” about the shooting of the prime minister.

Juraj Cintula is the author of several poetry collections.
Pic: ENEX
Image:
Juraj Cintula is the author of several poetry collections. Pic: ENEX

‘Fantastic man’

“We had no problems with them. He is a fantastic man. I can’t explain it,” the neighbour said.

“I knew him and his wife as well. They were great people – pensioners. His wife was a university teacher – they used to go for a walk – great family.”

Asked whether it was clear that Cintula had a gun, the neighbour added: “He didn’t tell me. Police should check old people [and carry out psychological tests].”

Cintula founded a literary club in Levice and is the author of several poetry collections, local media reported.

He has also written a novel called The Message Of Sacrifice and is said to be a member of the Society of Slovak Writers.

Mr Fico – who is fighting for his life in hospital after Wednesday’s assassination attempt – was shot several times in the town of Handlova, around 85 miles northeast of the capital Bratislava, where he was meeting supporters.

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Video shows moment Slovak PM was shot

Slovakia‘s interior minister, Matus Sutaj Estok, told reporters that Cintula was a “lone wolf”.

The suspect “acted alone”, Mr Estok said.

Speaking previously, he said the attempt on Mr Fico’s life was “politically motivated”.

On Wednesday, he said an initial investigation found the suspect had a “clear political motivation” for carrying out the shooting, adding the “perpetrator’s decision was born closely after the presidential election”.

Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico
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Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico. Pic: Reuters

Pic: AP
Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024. Slovakia...s populist Prime Minister Robert Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Jan Kroslak/TASR via AP)
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Mr Fico was taken to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia. Pic: AP


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President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Mr Fico, won a fiercely contested presidential election last month.

The alleged gunman fired five bullets at the 59-year-old prime minister as he greeted supporters following a government meeting in a former coal mining town in central Slovakia.

What have those who knew the suspect said?

News outlet Aktuality.sk cited the suspect’s son as saying his father was the legal holder of a gun licence.

“I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened,” it quoted the son as saying.

He said all he could say about his father’s views about the prime minister was that he did not vote for him.

He also said his father was not a psychiatric patient.

Pic: AP
Police arrest a man after Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and injured following the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia, Wednesday, May 15, 2024.  Fico is in life-threatening condition after being wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon, according to his Facebook profile. (Radovan Stoklasa/TASR via AP)
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The suspect remains in police custody. Pic: AP

Read more:
Who is Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico?

A member of the Rainbow Literary Club in Levice told Reuters she knew the suspect.

She said he was one of the club’s founding members and had been its chairman for a time.

In a statement, the club condemned the attack and said that as a strictly apolitical group it had revoked the suspected attacker’s membership with “immediate effect”.

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