Friday, February 25, 2005

Socially Unacceptable Family

What some Croatian media called “Trial of the Century” has ended in Zagreb today. Group of people was sentenced for their role in the kidnapping of Tomislav Zagorac, son of General Vladimir Zagorac. Among people sentenced was Hrvoje Petrač (Hrvoje Petrac), controversial businessman currently on the run, and his son Novica Petrač, who is going to spend next two and half years behind bars - one years spent in detention counts as a part of his 3,5-year sentence received today.

Croatian judiciary, unlike in many other cases, acted with unusual swiftness. It took only a year for the criminal process to be completed. Petračs are likely to appeal, but it is unlikely for their appeals to end as favourably as in the case of young Primorac, because their family, at least for now, is not “socially acceptable”.

Many speculate that the real reason for Petračs’ fall from grace is related to March 17th - the date that hangs over Ivo Sanader’s head like the sword of Damocles. Sanader’s government is trying everything in order to give impression of seriously pursuing General Ante Gotovina. That includes going after people accused of financing Gotovina’s escape and Hrvoje Petrač - whose links with General were enough to brand him persona non grata by EU – is the perfect scapegoat. Today’s sentence should silence all the sceptics within EU that still accuse Sanader and President Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) of being in cahoots with Gotovina.


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