A Community of villagers have come out to express their anger over The decision of a Croatian court to release five men suspected of gang raping a 15-year-old girl.
The suspects who are between the ages of 19 and 20, were being accused of continuously raping a 15-year-old teenage girl for almost a year in their village, which is located outside the Coastal town of Zadar.
The protesters to the streets to protest against the suspects release and against the Judiciary which they believe has failed to protect women.
The suspects also allegedly filmed the abuse on their phones and threatened the 15-year-old teenager with the videos. She was living under fear until she decided to tell her Schools’ Psychologist.
Over the weekend, the suspected rapists were brought before a judge, but were set free, while the investigation would be ongoing. This decision made by the Judge shocked many in the State.
The five suspects, who are not indicted, will be brought back into custody, according to the report. Officials declined to comment.
The original ruling made by the Judge had stirred up the anger of many women, with women’s rights groups slamming the latest sign of a failure to tackle a scourge of sexual and domestic violence.
They came up with headlines like:
“Horror in Zadar: Experts and activists outraged over court decision”, read a headline in the daily Jutarnji List paper.
While another headline read :
Another local daily announced that judges had “delivered” the victim back to her abusers #JusticeForGirls
A lot of protests have been brewing up since Saturday, under the banner of #pravdazadjevojcice, which can be translated to mean “justice for girls” in Croatian.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Croatia’s first female president, also voiced her “outrage” over the crime online.
“We must not close our eyes to violence in our society as it additionally insults the victims,” she tweeted this week.
Croatia’s Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic has implored media “to be sensitive in reporting” on the case, as the investigation is still underway.
He said the judge in Zadar received threats and is now under police protection.
The Ombudsman for Children, Helenca Pirnat Dragicevic, also called for “restraint in comments on social media”, where she warned against circulating photos of the alleged perpetrators.
According to police data, between 90 and 150 rape or rape attempts are reported annually in Croatia.