Two taken into custody on suspicion of incitement to terrorism

NEWS 04.12.2021 15:16
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Source: N1

Two men -- Marko Franciskovic and Natko Kovacevic -- were taken into the police custody on Saturday on suspicion that during recent COVID protests they incited demonstrators to commit acts of terrorism.

During an investigation that the police launched since protest rallies which antivaxxers and opponents of COVID certificates held recently in contravention with the public assembly legislation, seven suspects were arrested on Friday, and the two of them, Franciskovic and Kovacevic, remanded in custody, whereas another five suspects have been released.

The law enforcement authorities have not revealed the identities of the seven suspects, however according to media reports, some of them are believed to be members of the group that identifies itself as “the Righteous”.

The 51-year-old man and the 65-year-old man are suspected by the police of having disseminated the plans via social networks to incite people to physically assault other citizens, including office-holders in the government and the parliament. The suspects are also charged with the plans to occupy the compounds of the national broadcasting service (HRT) in Zagreb and to use violent methods to fight against Croatia’s institutions and forcibly change the country’s constitutional order and democratically-elected authorities.

The police are continuing the investigation also against the five suspects who were released on Saturday.

The Police Directorate said on Friday that the police and the Zagreb County State Attorney’s Office were investigating a number of persons suspected of publicly inciting to terrorism.

The police said in that press release they were investigating “actions which incite to undermining Croatia’s fundamental constitutional, political, economic or social structures by attacking the physical integrity of other persons and public buildings.”

According to media reports, several persons have been arrested, including Marko Franciskovic and Natko Kovacevic, members of an organisation called Pravednik (Righteous).

Franciskovic spoke at recent protests against COVID certificates in Zagreb and Sibenik. According to the media, Kovacevic said on Croatian Television in 2016 that Microsoft founder and owner Bill Gates “wants to kill Croats”.

The police said the investigation was being conducted in Zadar, Sibenik-Knin and Lika-Senj counties as well as in Zagreb and Bjelovar.

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