Unremitting abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Republic of Croatia
STATE-SPONSORED TERRORIZATION OF MR RAJKO DEJDAR - ZAGREB
For the last chapter in this shameful case, the successful and illegal forced eviction of Mr Rajko Dejdar, Zagreb, see page 2 onwards: - Five p.m., Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Certain addressees will be familiar with the case of Mr. Rajko Dejdar, medically categorized as a 100% invalid and also officially assessed as being suicidal.
They will also remember that some months ago, as part of a devious plot to seize Dejdar’s apartment in his absence, he was arrested by Croatian border police on his return from a visit to a neighbouring country. Note here that the nominal owner of Dejdar’s apartment was at the time a senior police officer. On being detained, the reason given to Dejdar for his arrest was that he was in illegal occupation of his apartment at 23a Gundulićeva Street, Zagreb, an apartment he had occupied legally for the past 30 years. On his arrest Dejdar was informed by the police that he was to be detained for three days. Shortly after his arrest Dejdar suffered symptoms of a serious heart condition and had to be rushed to hospital. At this point the police backed off, stating that his arrest had “been a mistake”, or words to that effect. Dejdar, concerned with what might be happening at his apartment, discharged himself from hospital and returned to his home
To come a little more up to date, on the evening of Wednesday, 5 April, 2006 Dejdar returned to his apartment (which forms part of the same building as a school, and which is officially designated as a “caretaker’s” flat) from a short trip into town, only to find that the lock on his entrance door had been changed and he was therefore unable to enter his apartment.
Note here that a third (and penultimate) attempt by the courts to forcibly evict him was scheduled for 9 a.m. the following morning, Thursday, 6 April, 2006.
With the assistance of a neighbour Dejdar gained entry to his apartment, only to find that the electricity and gas supply had been disconnected and that there was no form of heating in the apartment.
This brings us to 9 a.m., Thursday, 6 April 2006, the date and time scheduled for the third and penultimate attempt at his illegal, forced eviction.
Nine a.m., Thursday, 6 April 2006
In attendance were a court distrainer (Mr Drago Skorić), four policemen and two employees of the above mentioned school, the task of the latter being to remove all of Dejdar’s possessions and household items from the apartment.
At an early stage in the proceedings Dejdar manifested symptoms of distress and high blood pressure. An ambulance was called and the accompanying doctor and two male paramedics attended Dejdar. The doctor decided a) that he was not a case for hospital treatment, and b) that in any event that he should not be transported due to his medical condition. Doctor, ambulance and paramedics then departed.
During this time the two school employees were systematically removing all of Dejdar’s possessions to another, empty apartment in the same building.
The court distrainer then asked the police to drag Dejdar out of his bed and deposit him onto the street. After conferring with their superiors the police refused to comply on the grounds of Dejdar’s medical history. The court distrainer then asked the two school employees to remove Dejdar bodily. One refused. The other is presently being investigated for a previous threat he made against Dejdar, in front of witnesses, when he threatened to “kill him like a pig.” This man began to drag Dejdar from his bed but was obliged to cease his efforts when Dejdar began shouting at him and was resisting as best he could.
The court distrainer then decided that Dejdar’s bodily removal would be postponed until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, 11 April, 2006, and he informed Dejdar that under no circumstances was he permitted to invite anybody into the apartment before then.
By this time everything necessary to sustain normal life had been removed from the apartment, in contravention of all laws: all personal clothing, every single item of food, washbasin, bathroom wall mirror, every item of furniture less bed and inbuilt cupboards. Also removed were refrigerator, washing machine and cooker, as well as all his personal documents . Except for the pyjamas he was wearing, the bed itself and the bedding, everything else had been removed. No inventory of any of the removed items was made, again contrary to the law.
Before leaving the unheated apartment the court distrainer said to Dejdar, “Next Tuesday, we shall find somebody to drag you out!”
Five p.m., Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Six days and five nights after the third and unsuccessful attempt to forcibly and illegally evict Mr Rajko Dejdar (described above), during which time he had been left in his unheated apartment, without clothes, without his possessions and personal documents and, were it not for friends who ignored the distrainer’s orders that he was not to invite anybody into his apartment, without food
The attached press release, published in the Croatian daily, Novi list , on 12 April 2006, tells its own story. What the article does not tell us is that early on in this, successful, unlawful eviction process, Dejdar’s lawyer called the emergency ambulance service for assistance because his client was manifesting signs of shock and high blood pressure. The dispatcher informed the lawyer that the ambulance service had earlier been instructed by the Director of the Emergency Ambulance Service that in the event they should receive a call in respect of Dejdar requesting medical assistance, no ambulance should be sent and no medical assistance rendered. This begs the question as to who in the political hierarchy gave that order to the Director, an order that was obviously designed to ensure that on this occasion no mere doctor would interfere with the unlawful, forced eviction of Rajko Dejdar, as one had done on the earlier eviction attempt by stating that Dejdar was in no condition to be moved. What has happened to the Hippocratic Oath in Croatia? It seems to have gone the same way as protected tenancy rights.
This case is representative of what is happening all over the Republic of Croatia on a regular basis, and which has been happening for a number of years, since Occupancy/Tenancy Rights were abolished by the Constitutional Court of Croatia in 1998. For detailed information on the whole situation with regard to blatant abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms in this country, we most strongly urge you to visit the appeal by the International Alliance of Inhabitants which includes:
a link to an extract from a letter sent by Croatia’s Presidential Office to the Alliance of Tenants’ Associations of Croatia in March 2005 in support of tenants rights;
Croatian TV coverage of the attempted forced eviction of a 93-year-old woman, in bed suffering from late-stage terminal cancer, in an unheated house, the roof of which, immediately above her bedroom, had been demolished, during the snowbound winter of 2005/2006;
and, in particular, the link for the UN-AGFE Report.
It was recently reported on Croatian radio that on average there are three evictions each week in Zagreb alone, some of which are carried out by thugs hired by nominal owners, who force their way into an apartment in which the occupant has been living sometimes for as long as thirty years, throwing out the occupant onto the street together with his/her belongings. No action is taken by the Croatian government (who maintain a stony silence) or the police (who simply stand by and watch) to either prevent such happenings or to bring to book those responsible. The victim(s) is/are left outside on the street, homeless, with their belongings in plastic bags, to their own devices and with no hope of protection from such acts. Just as Rajko Dejdar was: despite having previously been diagnosed as being unfit to be moved to hospital he was finally left outside lying on the ground, in the rain and with medical assistance having been denied him and with nowhere to go.
In the past six weeks, the above mentioned Internet appeal, organised by the International Alliance of Inhabitants, Padua, Italy, and sponsored by the Alliance of Tenants’ Associations of Croatia, has gathered more than 3,570 signatures from 50+ countries worldwide. The Croatian Parliament, the Croatian Government, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, every relevant Croatian Ministry, every local authority in the 20 Croatian counties, and at least five Croatian national newspapers, all are aware of the campaign, having received those signatures. The President of the Republic of Croatia, Stipe Mesić, is also aware of the campaign. And still, there is not a sound from any official quarter or from the media that the appeal is in progress. Why the wall of silence? With the single exception of the Croatian daily, Novi list , why the clampdown on ostensibly “free press” information reaching the public? Is it that the Croatian government is intent on pursuing its inhumane policies, contemptuously dismissing worldwide condemnation, while keeping its own people in the dark? We suspect that this is so.
Concluding comment: in his Easter message to the Croatian people, Zagreb’s Cardinal Božanić described Croatian politics as a “national disgrace”.
Prof. Volga Vukelja-Dawe, President and Anthony J. Dawe, B.Sc. Vice-President
Alliance of Tenants’ Associations of Croatia
12 April 2006