Croatian press in the dock as Tudjman pursues his enemies
Monday 22 December 1997
Feral Tribune, an impudently satirical weekly, is not known for showing reverence towards the powers that be. In Croatia these days such reverence is compulsory. Hence - at least in the view of many critics of the Croatian regime - today's court case.
The editors of the Feral Tribune have already been in court before, in connection with the offending article and photographs, which appeared to compare President Tudjman with Ante Pavelic, leader of the Croatian fascist state during the Second World War, and with General Franco, the Spanish dictator. They were prosecuted under a new law forbidding defamation of the President.
To the surprise of most observers, the judge acquitted the editors last Septem- ber. Shortly afterwards, Croatia was admitted into the Council of Europe - in effect, the waiting room for membership of the European Union. Croatia's membership had been put on hold, not least because of concerns about freedom of the press.
The state prosecutor appealed, however. Another court has argued that the acquittal of the journalists - editor Viktor Ivancic and leading writer Marinko Culic - has "no basis in law", and was "an essential violation of the rules of legal proceedings". Result: the case is returning to the Zagreb municipal court, for a "revised trial".
The court originally ruled that it was "absurd, unreal and inappropriate" to consider that a satirical photomontage could be regarded as a criminal offence. But the appeal court has in effect demanded that the municipal court judge come up with a better answer - "In the revised trial the court will remove all omissions pointed out and deliver a new sentence that must be explained properly".
Earlier this year, Feral Tribune published what amounted to a defence of its earlier attacks on Tudjman, with a catalogue of actions which appeared to demonstrate a tolerance of the Ustashe legacy. The original article, entitled "Bones in a Blender", attacked the "crazy and morbid" plan to "mix together the bones of the victims with those of the criminals" at Jasenovac, a notorious Ustashe concentration camp, by lining up the dead on both sides. Officially, this is seen as "reconciliation".
The attacks on Feral Tribune are only part of a wider pattern of putting pressure on independent thinkers in Croatia. Zvonimir Cicak, a leading human rights activist, faces prosecution for alleged false statements about President Tudjman. George Soros's Open Society Institute in Zagreb was recently prosecuted for falsifying official records, in a move that was widely perceived as political.
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...