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Kovac Brings Defamation Charges Against Meciar

Bratislava, May 30 (RFE/RL) -- Slovak President Michal Kovac has filed formal charges against Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar for slander and defamation of the head of state.

Kovac's press secretary, Vladimir Sevko, says the suit was lodged yesterday in the state prosecutor's office in the Slovak capital.

Kovac was reacting to a recent radio interview in which Meciar said the president would have been prosecuted for involvement in a business fraud case involving his son if Kovac was not protected by immunity.

Meciar said in a statement issued by his office today that if he is acquitted of the charges brought against him by the President, then Kovac has in Meciar's words, "the moral and political obligation to step down."

Michal Kovac Junior was abducted to Austria last August in what the opposition and Kovac said was an attempt to discredit the president and force him out of office. Kovac Jr. says he was seized near Bratislava and dumped outside a police station in Austria. He was detained to face extradition to Germany, where he was wanted for questioning regarding an embezzlement case.

A Vienna court freed Kovac Jr. saying his human rights were violated when he was taken across the border. An investigator examining the kidnapping said last week there is not enough evidence to lay criminal charges against any individuals. Opposition parties have linked the abduction to Meciar and the Slovak secret police.