petek, 12. oktober 2018

The court ruled I didn't defame ex Udba chief Janez Zemljarič

Dear journalist colleagues and my followers!

I would like to inform you that the court found me not guilty for defamation of the former Slovenian communist secret police Udba head Janez Zemljarič. The Ljubljana district court at the end of the trial on 1 February acquitted me in a private criminal complaint which was filed against me by Mr Zemljarič. On 12 September, his appeal was turned down by the Ljubljana court of appeal. The latter confirmed my exemption judgment taken by the Ljubljana district court. Both of the courts decided that I as a journalist had a justified reason to believe the documents of the former secret police found by a researcher Roman Leljak in the State Archive are authentic.

In January 2014 I wrote for the Reporter weekly magazine some articles about the Udba crimes in Austria and Germany in the 1970s. I wrote about murders of Croatian emigrants committed by the killer agents of the Yugoslav secret police Udba. Janez Zemljarič was at the helm of its Slovenian branch in 1975 when Nikica Martinović was murdered in his greengrocer in Klagenfurt. Mr Zemljarič claims he has nothing to do with the murders of Croatian emigrants. He denied that the Slovenian Udba murdered Martinović as well as any other Croatian emigrant. He felt dishonoured because of the published articles, so he filed a criminal complaint against me and my photographer for defamation. Just before the trial started he withdrew a complaint against the photographer but he insisted on prosecuting me.

Mr Zemljarič had also prosecuted Mr Leljak but he had lost that case too. Now I'm still waiting for the trail on behalf of Silvo Gorenc, the former head of the Yugoslav Udba, for the same articles. Finally, I would like to thank my solicitor Radovan Cerjak for an excellent defence. It was my privilege to be represented by a solicitor who achieved a ban of Tito's street in Ljubljana by the Slovenian Constitutional court.

Here are links for more information about this case: