POTPORA IZVANDOMOVINSKE HRVATSKE KARDINALU PULJIĆU
We are deeply saddened and appalled by the November 2, 2010 decision of the Sarajevo County court that ordered the eviction of Vinko Cardinal Puljić and his staff from a section of the Vrhbosna Archdiocesan residence in Sarajevo. The following is the history of the case.
The building that houses the seat and living quarters of the Archbishop of Vrhbosna was erected at the center of the city of Sarajevo in 1895. In 1972, the communist regime simply took over a part of the building, turned it into an apartment and moved in Fadil and Emina Smajović, both agents of the UDBA, the infamous Yugoslav communist secret police. Their job was to keep an eye on the comings and goings at the Archbishop’s home and office and, by means of a secret listening device, to record what was being said at the Archbishop’s residence.
In 1992, when the communist regime collapsed and the building was bombed, the Smajović couple, as active agents of the collapsing communist regime, ran from the city. First they went to Vojvodina (now a province of Serbia), then to Istria (a province of Croatia), and finally Canada welcomed the former communist agents. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese fixed the building and moved into the part that was taken over and used by the UDBA (but never legally nationalized by the communist regime). In 1997, Fadil undertook legal action to regain control of the part of the Archdiocesan building that he used as an UDBA agent, claiming that he was deprived of his own apartment. But he died while on the way from Canada to Sarajevo for the court hearing. However, his wife Emina (whose code name as UDBA agent was “Tamara” and lives in Canada) continued to claim the legal right to “her apartment” in Sarajevo. The Archdiocese wanted to settle the issue out of court and even offered to buy her an apartment in the city if she stopped the legal process, but she refused.
The appalling truth is that Sarajevo courts keep taking her side and continue to rule in her favor. The latest such shameful decision was passed on November 2, 2010 that ordered the eviction of Cardinal Puljic by November 17, 2010 from a part of his residence, so that the former communist watchdogs and usurpers of church property may take possession of “their apartment.”
The latest, as well as the previous court decisions in this case, is much more than blatant injustice. It sends a clear but malevolent message to the Catholic Church, its leaders and the faithful, as well as to all Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially those who live in Sarajevo. If this can be done to the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one can imagine what can be done, and is being done, to individuals.
We, therefore, protest this and similar discriminatory judgments that are being passed by the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reflect the general atmosphere in the country, especially in Sarajevo. We also ask you to join us in condemning this and similar court actions, and to use your personal and office influence to put pressure on the Sarajevo power holders to prevent the eviction of Cardinal Puljic from a part of his residence. This and similar prejudicial decisions are helping to push this unstable country over the point of no return.
Alliance of Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ante Cuvalo, Ph. D. – Chicago & Ljubuski, BiH; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rudi Tomic – Toronto; email@example.com
Brigitta Radielovic – Los Angeles
Steve Bubalo – Los Angeles
Franjo Perkovic – New York
Marko Puljic – St. Louis; firstname.lastname@example.org
Croatian Franciscan Custody – Chicago
Rev. Paul Maslach – Custos; email@example.com
Croatian Academy of America – New York
Vedran Nazor – President; firstname.lastname@example.org
Croatian Fraternal Union of America - Pittsburgh
Bernard M. Luketich - National President; email@example.com
National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation - Washington, D.C.
John Kraljic – President; NFCAhdq@aol.com
Croatian Radio Club - New York
Vinko Kuzina – President
Croatian Radio – Vancouver
Zlatko Jelinic – Manager and Broadcaster; firstname.lastname@example.org