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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Slovak ex-minister charged for praising Russian war

Harabin served two terms as Slovakia's Supreme Court chief justice and ran for president in 2019. (Photo: AFP)

BRATISLAVA - The Slovak top prosecutor's office said Monday it had charged ex-justice minister and former Supreme Court chief justice Stefan Harabin over a Facebook post praising Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A day after Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Harabin wrote on Facebook that he "would have done exactly the same thing as (Russian President Vladimir) Putin".

Zuzana Drobova, a spokeswoman for the chief prosecutor's office in Slovakia -- a Ukraine neighbour and supporter -- told AFP that Harabin was charged with "the defamation of a nation, race and persuasion and the endorsement of a crime".

She declined to provide more details as the criminal proceedings were still under way.

The Dennik N daily said Harabin faced three years in prison if convicted.

It quoted Harabin as saying on Monday that he was "proud" of the statement which he would willingly repeat as he believed that Russia was acting in line with international law.

Harabin also claimed in a video interview posted on YouTube that it was Russia's duty to "liquidate all Ukrainian Nazis... who have killed 14,000 children, women and elderly people in Donbas since 2014".

A former Communist, the 66-year-old served as justice minister in the first cabinet of populist prime minister Robert Fico in 2006-2009.

During that stint, he allegedly had a phone call with a mafia boss and sacked seven regional court heads within two days without giving a reason.

A vocal critic of the EU, Harabin also served two terms as Supreme Court chief justice and ran for president in the 2019 vote won by Zuzana Caputova, the current head of state.

He has repeatedly drawn criticism for sharing migrant-related fake news on Facebook and for slamming EU sanctions against Russia.

Slovakia, an EU nation of 5.4 million people, has provided Ukraine with substantial humanitarian and military aid since Russia invaded.

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