1st hearing held in minister's lawsuit against journalist over mental anguish

Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic in the caretaker cabinet who sued reporter Ante Tomic over his article in which he described Hasanbegovic as a "retard", "Ustasha clown" and "political Minotaur", did not appear at the first hearing held before the Zagreb Municipal Court on Wednesday, however, his lawyer Trpimir Jonjic said his client insisted on the lawsuit and on damages in the amount of HRK 30,000 for the mental anguish sustained over the article published in the Belgrade-based NIN newspaper.

Lawyer Jonjic today presented the plaintiff's arguments and proposed the examination of Hasanbegovic's work by history experts to contend Tomic's claims that Hasanbegovic had advocated "totalitarian views and called for violence".

Also, a medical examination proposed by the plaintiff's team should show that Hasanbegovic was exposed to stress and consequently insomnia and nervousness due to Tomic's article.

Tomic's lawyer Vesna Alaburic said she was not against the motion for a medical examination but that she was against the examination of Hasanbegovic's work by history experts since Tomic's article was not about Hasanbegovic's work as a historian, but his public conduct.

Before the start of the trial, Tomic said that he did not believe that his article had inconvenienced the minister.

Alaburic said that Tomic's position and opinion might be insulting or shocking for Hasanbegovic or a part of the public, "but they are protected by the fundamental tenets of freedom of expression in a democracy".

The lawyer said she would not be against a possible conciliation procedure during the trial.

The next hearing is scheduled for 16 November.

Last update: Sat, 09/07/2016 - 16:25

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