Why this story matters:
The Slovak Ministry of the Interior is going through hard times. Since the murder of the journalist, Jan Kuciak, earlier this year, the Interior Minister has been changed twice already. Nonetheless, Slovaks do not believe that these changes will bring any real change to either Slovakia's politics or security.
German media has now published information that the former Interior Minister, Robert Kaliňák, provided a Vietnamese delegation with a government plane for the flight from Prague to Bratislava and then on to Moscow in order to help the Vietnamese Communist party transport a kidnapped Vietnamese dissident and entrepreneur, Trinh Xuan Thanh, from Berlin to Vietnam.
Once in his home country, Thanh was sentenced to life in prison.
After the murder of Jan Kuciak, Slovakia needs to show that it still belongs to Western Europe. But instead, here is another scandal that will only worsen the relationship with Germany and western countries. Is Slovakia a country which helps autocratic leaders kidnap people from one of its closest political, economic and military allies?
Details from the story:
- It is not customary to lend government planes to foreign delegations. The former Interior Minister has not explained why he decided to do so.
- The Slovak Ministry of the Interior has denied that they took part in the kidnapping. Slovak Interior Minister, Denisa Saková, further said that no passenger was forced to board the plane and all 12 passengers had diplomatic passports.
- German media says that the car which was allegedly used to kidnap the Vietnamese entrepreneur was seen a few days later, parked near the Slovak governmental hotel, Bôrik, where the Slovak-Vietnamese delegation was having a session.
- Vietnamese dissident and entrepreneur, Trinh Xuan Thanh was abducted from Berlin by the Vietnamese secret service in April 2017.