Someone must have slandered Marko R., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested

This is my brief account of events which happened last week, I am going to try to make it as precise as possible and as neutral as possible although I am aware that this is not entirely possible.

On Tuesday evening last week (6th of april 2010) new web site appeared on the internet called registarbranitelja.com. This is basically search engine which allows you to search war veteran database. This is highly disputed document because it contains more then half a milion names and just about everyone agrees that this list is inflated with about 100-150.000 names – the problem comes with the fact that based on your presence on the list you might be able to draw some benefits from your war veteran status (not all people can do that, it is more related to people who were either retired with military pensions or handicaped during war, usualy with PTSD diagnose).

Around 22:00 I have received few calls from my fellow webmasters and immediately after that from some journalists asking me if it is true that I am the one behind that web site. The reason for that claim was few anonymous comments on some web sites (I have identified at least three sites, comment appears to be made about the same time) which claimed that part of my google analytics code which I used on my “World forum e-democracy award” winning site pollitika.com was used on that site as well. I was unable to confirm that because site was down (probably due to overhelming interest), site is now online and that code is not visible.

At the same time, few war veteran NGOs have protested and basically made a number of non-specific threats against person who published that registry and that fact scared me and made me panic because it was clear from numerous journalist requests that I will be identified as possible author of that site. I have tried to access that site thru the night without success and early in the morning I went to police in order to explain my non existing role in this and to ask for protection. One of the problems later reported is that during night I have contacted President of Republic of Croatia for whom I worked in recent election campaign. I did that in order to warn him about developing story and to express my assessment that this story will inveitably affect him and his office. We have also agreed to talk with National Security advisor early in the morning so that he can make some suggestion on what to do. His advice was to simply go to the police and I followed it immediately.

I went to police station and there I made one hour talk with people there about all I know about this site as well as recapitulating events and timeline of previous evening and night. At one point they decided to move questioning to another police station where they asked me to go to the lie detector. At that point I have asked for my lawyer since it seemed to me that this is very unusual request, after my lawyer came to police station he immediately advised against it. Police at that moment begun stalling and I was arrested on wednesday 7th of april at 15:40.

Later in the day police obrtained court orders to search my home, office, car and me and that searches were made. Police temporarely confiscated all computer equipment present in the house and office (including notebook owned by my son, and ADSL router), all magnetic media and a number of DVDs and USB memory sticks.

After the search was done, I was released late in the evening (somewhere about midnight, few minutes before that).

On thursday and friday, after police obtained additional court orders to search my equipment we have begun searching it and (of course) they find nothing. Equipment was returned to me except for a single device which is expected to be searched tomorrow Tuesday 13th of April 2010.  (because of technical reasons they were unable to read it last friday).

I hope that tomorrow police will officialy state that they have found nothing and that I am not anymore person of their interest. I will really insist on that since currently I am the only person associated with this incident and there is a danger of retribution from some of the fake war veterans. I was assigned with police protection and it is clear to me that I am also under surveilance (I have detected equipment they have installed to eavesdrop my internet communication). There is also a reason to belive that some of my equipment was tampered with while it was held in secure storage in police station (which is against the law) and we have also proved that for at least one piece of equipment there was a breach of police protocol.

Just to make few very short and clear statements:

  • I have not published war vetran registry
  • Police officers working on my arrest, search and investigation were extremly polite and they went to great lengths to assist me
  • I have made myself completely avaliable to the police and have and intend to cooperate with them 100% with two exceptions: based on advice of my attorney I have not accepted lie detector test and I have not surrendered my passwords to the police
  • I wish for this whole affair to be over and to have some time to reevaluate past events, I want to be able to remove all emotions and stress involved with this and to be able to think about this (and its consequences) with clear head; based on that, future police behaviour and legal analysis of what happened (and people claim that this is extremly unusual police argumentation) I will think about what to do next

Ok, so this is it. I have a meeting (with some lawyers :) and do not have time to recheck grammar and spelling. If you have any questions please contact me directly or thru comments.

UPDATE;

I completely forgot to write above that war veteran registry is claimed to be state secret. It is unclear when or how it is classified or even which exact level of classification is used, since all laws which are regulating this matter do not mention that this registry is in any way secret (it is surely protected by law for protecting private data). My arrest warrant was made according to article 351 item 2 of Croatian criminal code which deals with state secrets.

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