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Friday, 7 April, 2000, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Former Slovak leader defies police
Meciar
Mr Meciar says the case is politically motivated
By Ray Furlong in Slovakia

The former Slovak prime minister, Vladimir Meciar, is refusing to give himself up to police for questioning about the kidnapping of the president's son in 1995.

He has been living surrounded by bodyguards in a guest-house in a small spa town for the past two weeks.

Mr Meciar was prime minister at the time President Michal Kovac's son was kidnapped.

The then Slovak security chief, Ivan Lexa, has already been charged in connection with the case.

Charges

Ministers in the current Slovak government have not ruled out bringing charges against Mr Meciar himself.

But he says the whole affair is politically motivated and through a party spokesman, announced that he would not co-operate with the court.

When in power, Mr Meciar - a bitter political enemy of Mr Kovac - was strongly criticised by the West for authoritarian methods and abuses of power.
Kovac
Mr Kovac is a bitter political enemy of the former Prime Minister
Slovakia's pro-Western government, which took power in 1998, pledged to investigate the various scandals of the Meciar years, and the kidnapping of the president's son was the biggest one.

But officials are now faced with an unpleasant situation.

Mr Meciar is making a mockery of police investigations, but forcing their way into the guest house and dragging him out could play into his hands.

Nor is Mr Meciar a spent force politically; despite making a tearful farewell to politics after the last elections, he has made quite a comeback, and his party is currently well ahead in opinion polls.

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30 Sep 98 | Europe
Meciar calls it a day
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