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Slovak PM Shooting: Suspect Says Wanted To 'Injure' Fico, Not Kill Him

Robert Fico was shot four times at close range on May 15. (File)

The man detained over the shooting of Robert Fico said he had wanted to hurt the Slovak Prime Minister because he disagreed with government policies and used a gun he had owned for more than 30 years, a court document released on Thursday showed.

The 9-page document details the reasoning why a court ordered the 71-year-old suspect to be detained, based on questioning he had with authorities investigating the case.

They are the first official comments from the suspect that have been made public, more than a week after the shooting that left Fico fighting for his life and needing surgery on his abdomen. His condition has improved but he remains hospitalised.

The suspect, a former security guard at a shopping mall, according to the media, was cited as saying no one else knew about his plan. He apologised for his actions and was prepared to apologise to Fico, according to the document released by the Specialised Criminal Court.

Fico was shot four times at close range on May 15 on a square in the central town of Handlova where the government had been meeting.

The court order said the suspect stated he had “decided to act” as he disagreed with government policy, “the cancelling of the USP (special prosecutor office), and he disagrees with the persecution of cultural and media workers, and what he mainly wants is military aid to be provided to Ukraine”.

A lawyer for the suspect, when contacted by Reuters, said she had ended her representation. It was not clear if the suspect had a new lawyer.

OPPOSITION PROTESTS

The first major assassination attempt on a European political leader for more than 20 years highlighted deep political divisions in the central European country.

Fico’s leftist-nationalist government coalition has faced opposition protests and European Commission criticism for some policy pivots, which critics say damage the rule of law and media freedom.

His government ended state military to Ukraine, held dialogue with Russia, dismantled a special prosecutor’s office fighting corruption, and is overhauling the country’s public TV and radio broadcaster.

The court document said the suspect, identified previously by prosecutors as Juraj. C, decided around Monday, May 13, two days before the shooting, to hurt Fico using a legally held CZ 75 9mm-calibre gun he had had in his possession for over three decades.

Arriving in front of the building at 2:35 p.m. with the gun and two magazines of around 10 bullets each, the suspect stood with others at a barrier outside on the square, it said.

When Fico came close, “he aimed at (Fico), specifically at the lower part of his torso”, said the court order, which blocked out names of the attacker, victim and witnesses.

The order said the suspect said he did not intend to kill him but “wanted to injure him and damage his health”.

He said he had never been treated in a psychiatric ward nor had any psychiatric examination, the document showed.

Acquaintances have described him as member of a literary club and author of several books. He had in the past attended at least one rally of a paramilitary group but also tried to set up a political movement against violence, according to videos verified by Reuters.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)