“Wanted Dead or Alive”: Slovak PM Dodges Court Summons
By Tibor Blazko from Global Voices
Robert Fico served his first term as Slovakia’s Prime Minister from 2006 to 2010, then spent two years in the opposition, and was re-appointed as the PM in April 2012. In 2011, during his gap years from premiership, Fico – being fully aware “of all the legal consequences” – said [sk] that his successor (and, later, his predecessor), PM Iveta Radičová, was “incompetent, a liar, and suspected to have been involved in corruption.”
Radičová sued Fico, demanding an apology for his statement, but he has been ignoring the trial [sk] for a whole year now, and even the police cannot find the PM’s address to serve him court summons.
According to the population register, Fico does not exist officially (probably for security reasons). Judge Michaela Králová approached the district police headquarters to have the mail delivered to Fico’s last known address. The police discovered that although the nameplate on the door still said “Fico,” the PM’s apartment had been sold and the new owner (who happens to be Fico’s nephew) claimed he did not know the PM’s current residential address. (A few months ago, however, Fico announced publicly [sk] that he had moved to a luxury residence, Bonaparte, located near Bratislava Castle.) The police then sent a notice by mail to the Cabinet Office, but they refused to accept it there.
Radičová, who had returned to Slovakia from Oxford because of the trial, called the situation “a comedy.”
Fico’s spokesman said the claims that “it was not possible to deliver something to one of the most public people in Slovakia” were “ridiculous.”
A recent sighting of the PM occurred at a melodramatic prime time TV show. Gabor Grendel, a former journalist and ex-spokesman of the Ministry of the Interior, wrote [sk]:
When it comes to a TV show that features poignant human stories, there is absolutely no problem delivering an invitation to Robert Fico. But once it is the court that’s looking for him to explain his remarks, for which he is sued by Iveta Radičová, suddenly there is no one in the Cabinet Office who could take his summons.
[...] due to the recent events, I would kindly ask you to dismiss the Minister of the Interior Robert Kaliňák from his post as soon as possible. [...] The employees of his resort are unable to deliver even ordinary mail from the court and not even to the state’s most famous citizen, who, moreover, is not hiding. [...]
Ján Macek wrote [sk]:
If the cops are mentally okay, I wonder if it is normal that Slovakia has a person whose address they cannot find as the PM.
Tomáš Bosák wrote [sk]:
I would like to remind the judge of the District Court in Pezinok that Fico is in the Cabinet Office and has enough time to participate in a TV show. Similarly, he could have found the time to accept the [court summons] and to finally come to the hearing with ex-PM Radičová. But the Prime Minister has always tended to behave like a child whose toys have been taken away.
Below are some of the comments to this SME article [sk] on the situation.
User Najsocialnejsi.Financny.Zralok.z.J&T.Fico wrote [sk]:
Last week [Fico] was screaming that there was no rule of law in Slovakia. Right now I do not know whether he was complaining or praising his own work.
User Hlava81 wrote [sk]:
It is contempt for the judiciary. What kind of country is this, where the Prime Minister ignores laws. [...] How do they expect citizens to abide by the laws?
User Dana Bobeková wrote [sk]:
What is the difference between the PM and a member of the Mafia? None. Neither one agrees to accept mail.
User a boľševizmus musí byť zničený!!! alluded [sk] to Fico’s passion for luxury items – and to the recording of Fico’s 2002 secret speech that was made public before the 2010 election, in which “a voice similar to Fico’s” said he had made millions “with his own head” (GV wrote about it here):
That’s why I recommend: Announce that in the building of the court free Rolex watches will be distributed. [...] He will come – with his own head.
User Kasi wrote [sk]:
[...] Maybe it is necessary to give [the court summons] to him at the live press conference.
User logikanepusti wrote [sk]:
[...] How about having Interpol search for him?
User appleVSsamsung commented [sk] on Fico’s academic credentials:
Do you think that a juris doctor and even a PhD has those degrees just for fun? It took him a piece of hard work to learn how to cheat the system
User mirsa wrote [sk]:
And who would now claim that we are all equal before the law? The Prime Minister as a lawyer does not believe it, either, and behaves accordingly.
User vskiper wrote [sk]:
[It's] great to live in a country where the police cannot find the PM )
User Chytrak wrote [sk]:
“Wanted Dead or Alive” notes should be posted [...].