news 23 Jan 13

Croatian Journalist Jailed for Dodging Trial

A Zagreb court jailed reporter Jasna Babic for a month to ensure that she attends a libel trial against her initiated by a Croatian businessman.

Boris Pavelic

Police arrested Babic on Tuesday on the orders of Zagreb’s municipal court to make sure that she is present at her trial over the alleged libel of enterpreneur Dikan Radeljak because she has avoided the past 16 hearings.

The Croatian journalists’ association said the court's ruling to detain her for a month was unfair and called for her release.

“As far as we remember, not a single journalist in Croatia ever stayed in custody just to make sure he would attend a court session,” the association said in a statement.

“The next court session in the trial against Babic isn’t even scheduled yet,” it added.

Prominent Croatian lawyer Anto Nobilo told local media that the court has the right to jail someone who avoids its hearings, but said he also didn’t remember that it had ever happened to a journalist.

Jasna Babic has been a prominent investigative journalist for more than 25 years.

She has written two books, one about the crime scene in the Croatian capital Zagreb and the other about the trial of general Tihomir Blaskic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Croatia’s media was rated 'partly free' in US-based watchdog Freedom House’s most recent assessment of the world’s press.



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