Croatian ex-president fined for insulting French lawyer

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A Croatian court on Friday ruled that former president Stipe Mesic will have to pay a fine valued at 9,400 euros in damages for insulting a French lawyer, HINA news agency reported.

Mesic will have to pay 70,000 kunas (9,400 euros, $12,200) in damages to the plaintiff in the case, Ivan Jurasinovic, who holds both Croatian and French nationality, the state-run news agency said.

Jurasinovic sued Mesic after he had said in 2006 that the lawyer should visit a Zagreb mental hospital "because there they can help people like him."

The statement came after Jurasinovic in France filed a criminal suit on behalf of his client Marin Tomulic. Local press reported that Tomulic, a former member of Croatian secret services and arms dealer who lived in France, accused Mesic of being part of a gang plotting to kill him.

Jurasinovic argued that the former leader's statement significantly tarnished his image in France and earned him the reputation of "crazy lawyer".

The Zagreb municipal court already convicted Mesic in 2008, but earlier this year an appeals court overturned the verdict and sent the case back to a lower court who again convicted him.

Mesic, who was the head of state from 2000-2010, is credited with playing a key role in transforming the former Yugoslav republic into a genuine parliamentary democracy.

© 2011 AFP

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