Split Journalist Mate Prlic Supported by Colleagues Following Police Incident

Mate Prlic
Mate Prlic Miranda Cikotic/PIXSELL

May the 26th, 2022 - Mate Prlic, journalist and co-owner of Dalmatinski portal, was arrested and is in pre-trial detention together with others from the motorway clash with police in Zagreb, in an incident which occurred recently following a Hajduk-Dinamo match, about which you can read more here. Prlic has been arrested despite having not participated in the clash with police in any way, writes

As Slobodna Dalmacija/PSD writes, Mate Prlic is a family man in his forties and is an excellent professional, and judging by the statements of his colleagues, friends, but also people who were in the column of fans who returned to Split from Zagreb after the game, he was simply just very unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

''Mate was in the car with three other friends. The boys said that they were driving at the back of a column of traffic which was several hundred metres long. Mate was asleep when they came to a standstill. They stayed there for a while, when they realised that something was going on ahead, a terrible noise could be heard and Mate, who had just woken up, got out of the car to see what was going on.

He wasn't on any sort of assignment, but he's a journalist, so of course he was interested in what was happening. His phone remained in the car, in the seat. Somehow, just at that moment in time, the police came with their tear gas and batons and began beating everyone there. The guys who were with Mate left the car and fled over the wire from the motorway, he didn't run away, he obviously thought he wasn't guilty of anything, and he ended up on the floor and put in handcuffs,'' a friend of one of the co-drivers told, with whom Mate Prlic had tried to return home to Split from Zagreb.

Allegedly, before the arrival of the police, those who actually had caused the conflict on the motorway had already fled, and many were arrested who thought they had no reason to flee because they hadn't done anything.

Hrvoje Zovko, the president of HND (Croatian Journalists' Association), commented on the situation:

''According to the information we've got, Mate Prlic didn't take part in any incident or do anything that should have led to his arrest and detention. We respect the work of the institutions and we want this whole story to be fully explored, to shed light on all the circumstances of the whole event, but also the treatment of him and other people. HND condemns any kind of violence, we aren't offering justification for any attack, but we do ask that all of the circumstances surrounding this situation be properly determined, including the treatment of our colleague who apparently did nothing wrong except find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time,'' said Zovko.

Another Dalmatian portal, DalmacijaDanas, has published that a large number of journalists have signed an appeal over the whole Mate Prlic situation. The appeal, at the time of writing signed by 255 journalists, says the following:

"We, journalists from Split, as well as colleagues from all parts of Croatia, were shocked to learn that after Saturday's riot on the motorway, our dear colleague Mate Prlic was detained. Everyone who knows him, from colleagues to business partners, is fully convinced that he has absolutely nothing to do with provoking fan riots, nor did he participate in them, and we've seen no evidence to the contrary.

We call on all of the relevant institutions to submit and publish, as soon as possible, all available recordings and other evidence on the basis of which he was detained and for which he was sentenced to pre-trial detention.

The fact that Mate Prlic, a respected intellectual who is liked and appreciated by practically the whole of Split, is among those detained and imprisoned, justifiably raises suspicions as to whether the actions taken by the police and the judicial authorities were regular. If indeed pre-trial detention is assigned to a person who did nothing other than find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, then a legitimate question arises as to how many more such cases are among those who were also arrested.

Below are the signatures of all of the journalists, editors, columnists, cameramen, photojournalists, graphic artists, filmmakers and many other media employees who want to express their support for their colleague, with the desire to prove his innocence as soon as possible,'' reads the appeal signed by 255 journalists whose names you can read by clicking here.