Suspects released over murder of Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak

Protests have been held in Slovakia after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova

Protests have been held in Slovakia after the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova

Kuciak's funeral is scheduled for later Saturday.

Kuciak's burial comes a day after his fiancee Martina Kusnirova was laid to rest in her wedding gown in the northern town of Gregorovce. They were both 27-years-old.

The ceremony began with the reading of a poem written by Jan for his fiancee that he had planned to read at their wedding.

He was writing an article on suspected links between the Italian mafia and the prime minister when he was murdered.

Slovak police on Thursday detained several Italian businessmen named by Kuciak in his explosive report, which was published posthumously earlier this week, as investigators said his death was "most likely" linked to his reporting.

"He achieved the opposite".

Media watchdogs, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), are also criticizing Fico and other European leaders for their harsh rhetorical attacks against journalists.

Relatives and friends attend a funeral of murdered Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in Stiavnik, Slovakia, on March 3, 2018.

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The country of 5.4 million was rattled when police found reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee shot dead in an execution-style attack.

The murder has raised concerns about media freedom and political graft in Slovakia, sparking mass protests at home and sharp condemnation overseas. It follows the October 2017 assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who had denounced corruption in Malta.

Thousands flocked to candlelit anti-corruption protests and memorials held across Slovakia on Friday.

"There is a dirty mess all around here. and we common people have to put up with it", protester Jozef Belovic, 58, said as he walked through the capital on Friday in sub-zero temperatures along with an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 others. The murder prompted demands from Fico's coalition partners for the resignation of senior officials. The distrust is strong as people believe politicians are abusing their power to amass personal fortunes.

Maria Troskova, a close Fico aide, and his national security council officer Viliam Jasan, both of whom allegedly had past dealings with Vadala, resigned for the duration of the murder investigation, but "categorically rejected" any wrongdoing.

The rallies are taking place amid calls for global experts to join the investigation and for Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, who was linked to corruption scandals in the past, to resign.

Fico's office later issued a statement saying that there was "no call on the PM to apologise to journalists", denying Deloire's claim.

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