Braitislava, Jun 2 (AFP) Slovakia today re-opened an inquiry into the unsolved 1995 abduction of the son of the country's first president in neighbouring Austria.
Michal Kovac Jr was blindfolded and handcuffed, forced to drink a bottle of whisky and given electric shocks, before being found in his car near a police station in the Austrian town of Hainburg, just 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bratislava.
The investigation into the crime was blocked in 1998 by then prime minister Vladimir Meciar, a right-wing hardliner and the main political rival of the victim's father, then centrist president Michal Kovac.
Parliament opened the door to a fresh probe in April when it repealed the amnesty by Meciar for "crimes committed in connection with the kidnapping of Michal Kovac Jr".
The move triggered widespread suspicions that he orchestrated the abduction to embarrass Kovac. Meciar, now 74, has denied any involvement.
Spokesperson for the Bratislava district court Pavol Adamciak told AFP today that "the criminal offences in question are extensive".
Judges would announce their next steps after studying all the available evidence, he added.
Adamciak refused to say whether Meciar himself would be questioned.
An Austrian court ruled in 1995 that the kidnapping was most likely the work of the Slovak Secret Service (SIS).
Ivan Lexa, the SIS director at the time, who has lived in Mexico for years voluntarily handed over his passport to Slovak authorities today "due to media pressure and purposefully induced hysteria", his lawyer said.
Meciar, who served three times as prime minister, was sharply criticised by the United States and many European nations for his authoritarian rule and widespread corruption while in office.
He was also condemned by Kovac, the first president of an independent Slovakia, for attempting to curb newly won civil liberties after the collapse of communism in 1989.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI