CIN Condemns Croatian Assassination

Ivo Pukanić, a crusading, controversial Croatian journalist, and a colleague were killed by a bomb set in front of Pukanić’s media offices in downtown Zagreb last night, and the government says Croatians must choose between the government and its laws and criminals, the Mafia and terrorism.

The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) calls on Zagreb and Croatian state police to act forcefully and immediately beyond the words, words that only echo those heard earlier this month. After Ivana Hodak, the daughter of Zvonimir Hodak, a prominent lawyer, was gunned down in front of her home in downtown Zagreb, prime minister Ivo Sanader sacked his interior and justice ministers and said his government would get tough on organized crime. Then Pukanić, 47,the publisher of the leading political weekly, Nacional, and his marketing manager, Niko Franić, 38, were killed in last night’s blast.
Sanader termed the killing an assassination but said it was too early to tell whether it was tied to the mafia.
Pukanić’s Nacionale did courageous work exposing political corruption and organized crime. He was also sometimes a controversial figure who knew many people, some questionable, and who some felt used his magazine for personal agendas. Croatian authorities are calling the car bombing an assassination.
President Stipe Mesić said, “It is now a choice between us—the state of law—and them: criminals, terrorists, Mafia.”
CIN calls on the Croatian government to back up its words about a war on organized crime and criminals with actions.
CIN belongs to a South East European consortium of investigative reporters that examines cross-border organized crime and corruption. Our reporters know that journalism can be a dangerous occupation. Organized crime groups and criminal businessmen and politicians who empower them use any tool at their disposal to silence important voices. We call on all journalists to support the government in its efforts and to continue the journalistic work of Pukanić.
Croatia and Croatians must know the truth about who was behind this and why they did it.