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News 04 Aug 15

Attempted Murder Probe Over Croatian Journalist’s Attack

Three people who allegedly physically attacked Croatian investigative journalist Zeljko Peratovic in May will be investigated for attempted murder.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Zeljo Peratovic in hospital after the attack. | Photo: Facebook

Peratovic said on Monday that state attorney’s office was now investigating his alleged attackers for attempted murder rather than for inflicting physical injuries after he filed criminal charges.

The well-known investigative journalist was attacked in his home in a village near Karlovac in central Croatia in May this year. Three men drove up and started to insult him in front of his house about articles he had written about the illegal excavation of gravel.

After running into the house, the men followed him and started to beat him up, inflicting physical injuries and causing concussion.

According to the state attorney, three men being investigated for attempted murder are a local entrepreneur ,Vladimir Cunjko, his son Vladimir and a worker at his company, Zihnija Grahovic.

Police will question the three men, Peratovic and some other potential witnesses.

Peratovic wrote about the illegal excavation of gravel back in 2010, when he filed criminal charges to the Croatian bureau for combating corruption and organised crime, USKOK, claiming that the city of Karlovac and the state water company were illegally excavating gravel, and thus causing landslides.

He also reported on the murder of Croatian émigré Stjepan Djurekovic in Germany in 1983 by the Yugoslav secret services. Two former agents, Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, are currently on trial at a Munich court in connection with the case.

In April, he won a case at a Zagreb court against his former employer, the now non-existent state-owned daily Vjesnik, for allegedly illegally laying him off and harassing him between the summer of 2004 and August 2005, when he was fired.

The apparent cause of the harassment was his reporting about the then head of the Croatian counter-intelligence agency, POA, Tomislav Karamarko, who later became interior minister and now heads the strongest opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

In previous years, Peratovic has also physically attacked and threatened a number of times.

In May this year, he received an award from the Croatian Journalists' Association for his investigative work in 2014.

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