Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Margetic Hunger Strike Threat

By Merdijana Sadovic (TU No 487, 02-Feb-07)
Croatian freelance journalist Domagoj Margetic, accused by the Hague tribunal of contempt of court, says he would rather die than be sent to prison.

Margetic was charged with contempt of court in summer 2006 after he published the names of 48 protected witnesses due to give evidence in the trial against Bosnian Croat general Tihomir Blaskic.

Tribunal prosecutors recently recommended that Margetic be sentenced to six months in prison and fined 50,000 euro, because the “magnitude and implications arising from such egregious conduct”, distinguished this case from “any other contempt case heard by the tribunal to date”.

But Margetic's defence insist that their client is innocent, since he only published the names which had already been revealed by someone in the prosecutor’s office, by “error and serious neglect”.

The judgement is expected to be handed down on February 7.

However, at a news conference held in Zagreb on January 26, Margetic said he was told by a source close to the tribunal that he would be found guilty and jailed. The same day he announced he would go on a hunger strike.

Margetic said he would rather die than be sent to prison.

“I will come back from The Hague either as a free man or be transferred back in a coffin," the Croatian news agency Hina reported him as saying.

He also appealed to journalists not to allow his imprisonment, as "this time it may be Margetic and tomorrow some other Croatian journalist".

Margetic was arrested in Croatia in August 2006 at the tribunal’s request, but was set free

after 32 days of a hunger strike due to his failing health.

He had already been charged with contempt of court by the Hague tribunal once before, in 2005, but those charges were dropped.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague project manager.

More IWPR's Global Voices