Slovakia: ‘Positive prognosis’ for injured PM Fico

An operation on Friday has “contributed to a positive prognosis” for Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico as he remains in hospital with injuries sustained in a shooting attack, Health Minister Zuzana Dolinkova said on Saturday. 

The update on Fico’s health came as the man accused of attempting to assassinate him made his first court appearance, according to Slovak state media. 

Fico, who was hit four times by bullets at point-blank range while about to meet with supporters in the central mining town of Handlova, underwent one five-hour surgery on Wednesday directly after the shooting and another shorter surgery on Friday.

What is the Slovak government saying?

Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak told reporters at the hospital where Fico is being treated in the central Slovak city of Banska Bystrica that the prime minister’s condition would not allow his transfer to the capital, Bratislava, for a few days yet. 

Kalinak said there was no need for Fico’s official duties to be formally taken over, and that there was some communication with the injured premier.

“Several miracles have occurred in Banska Bystrica in recent days coming from the hands of doctors, nurses and the personnel at the Roosevelt Hospital,” Kalinak, who is also defense minister, said.

What do we know about the suspected shooter?

Meanwhile, a court in Slovakia ruled Saturday that the suspect in the attempted assassination of Fico will remain in custody.

Unconfirmed media reports have said the suspect, identified by prosecutors as Juraj C., is a 71-year-old retiree who may have once worked as a mall security guard in the country’s southwest.

The reports said he is the author of three collections of poetry.

Government authorities have said the suspect didn’t belong to any political groups, though the attack itself was politically motivated.

It remains unclear how the man came by a firearm, as Slovakia has very strict gun ownership laws.

tj/dj (Reuters, AP)