News 12 Nov 14

Croatian Dissident Feared Kidnap by Yugoslav Spies

The trial of Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, former Yugoslav spy chiefs accused of killing a Croatian émigré, heard that the victim repeatedly told his German lover that he was living in fear.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Stjepan Djurekovic. Photo: Youtube screenshot

Herta Strossberger, the former lover of Stjepan Djurekovic, the dissident who was murdered in Germany in 1983, testified at the murder trial in Munich on Tuesday that he told her that he was worried that he could be kidnapped by the Yugoslav security agency, UDBA.

“Djurekovic most feared being kidnapped and taken back to Yugoslavia,” said Strossberger, who met Djurekovic while he was working for the Croatian state energy company INA.

She said that he asked her to contact the police if she did not hear from him for 24 hours, and a day before the murder, he told her again: “I am afraid.”

Strossberger said that she last heard from Djurekovic on the day he was killed, when they planned to meet at noon for a picnic. She waited for half an hour and then contacted her home to see if he had called.

She found out the next day from the media that he had been shot dead, she said.

The indictment alleges that Mustac, who wasthe head of UDBA at the time, gave orders to Perkovic to organise the assassination. Perkovic sorted out the logistics and chose the place where Djurekovic was to be killed - a garage in which he printed anti-Yugoslav propaganda material, it is alleged.

Both Mustac and Perkovic have pleaded not guilty to any involvement in the murder.

Strossberger said that after Djurekovic was killed, she was not worried that she might also be targeted because he had told her that “UDBA would never harm a German citizen in order to maintain good political relations between Yugoslavia and Germany”.

She said that Djurekovic had also told her everything about his life as a dissident.

“He told me he was writing a book; that he was petroleum manager, that he knew [Yugoslav President Josip Broz]Tito... He said he had to flee from Yugoslavia because he was an opponent of the regime, and that they [dissidents] feared they might be arrested,” she said.

She said that Djurekovic told her that his book was about corruption in state companies, and he was writing it in order to show the workers how the political and economic elites lived in Yugoslavia.

Djurekovic was wealthy, she said; he bought a new car for 30,000 Deutschmarks and was spending 25,000 Deutschmarks on the publication of his book in German.

“I asked him how he got so much money and he answered he that sold some land that he inherited in his own country,” Strossberger said.

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Croatian Dissident Feared Kidnap by Yugoslav Spies

The trial of Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, former Yugoslav spy chiefs accused of killing a Croatian émigré, heard that the victim repeatedly told his German lover that he was living in fear.

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