President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed outrage at the case of several young men who gang-raped, harassed and blackmailed a 15-year-old girl in Zadar and called on relevant institutions and agencies as well as the general public to persist in the fight against all forms of violence.
"We must not shut our eyes to violence in our society, as this additionally insults the victims of violent acts," the president said on Twitter.
Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic also said that he didn't feel well when he read a news article about a decision of a Zadar Court investigating judge to release seven young men from custody who were charged with multiple rape. He, however, underscored that the police had promptly done its job and filed a report against the suspects.
The minister, however, declined to comment in detail on the case explaining that he was not fully informed about it and that he did not want to comment on the performance of other institutions.
The Social Democratic Party's (SDP) women's forum on Monday morning strongly deplored the recent decision of the court's investigating judge to release the seven suspects from detention pending trial. The court issued a restraining order whereby the suspects are forbidden from contacting the victim in the village where all of them live.
According to media reports, the seven young men -- two of whom are 19-years-old, three are aged 18 and two are aged 17 -- are charged with multiple rape of the victim and inflicting bodily injuries to her in the period from August 2018 to July 2019. The accused also made video recordings of some of the rapes with their mobile phones and blackmailed the victim with threats of posting recorded footage. One of the suspects is her ex-boyfriend who beat her on several occasions.