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PEOPLE Slovakia

Slovak documentarist faces two years in jail


- Helena Kožíková sues Slovak national television and filmmaker Zuzana Piussi for misusing the footage featuring the judge in Disease of the Third Power.

Slovak documentarist faces two years in jail

Zuzana Piussi(photo) , independent documentary filmmaker, faces a trial and up to two years in jail for unauthorized use of footage in her film dealing with the state of Slovak judiciary system.

In Disease of the Third Power (Nemoc tretej moci (2011)) Piussi explores how the efforts of Štefan Harabin, a former minister of justice who then took the seat of the President of the Supreme Court, lead to gratuitous prosecution of judges, often for minor flaws. Piussi reveals that courts in contemporary Slovakia are dealing with significant problems as the people become more and more helpless despite public demonstrations.

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Two months after the film aired on Slovak national television, judge Helena Kožíková took both the TV and Piussi to court on the basis of protection of personality and "abusing a private conversation". Piussi is being sued for €30,000 and faces up to two years in jail. In the film, Kožíková's name is never mentioned and she is depicted with a black frame over her face. The director states that the conversation dealt with a public matter and the judge was not derogated by the film.

Czech Minister for Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg called the film "great" and has taken personal interest in the case, as has former Slovak Minister of the Interior Daniel Lipšic. However Piussi states that she "is not friends with any politicians". The film can be seen on Doc Alliance portal, until Sunday November 11 free of charge.

Piussi is currently working on a film called From Fico Till Fico. "Maybe I am facing more trouble," the director told SME daily. Watch the trailer here.

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