Andrija Klarić, the 51-year-old gym owner, who was handed over to the custody supervisor yesterday on suspicion of having committed the criminal offense of spreading and transmitting a contagious disease, was released from custody today.
‘What I did was right’
Recall, Andrija Klarić opened his gym in Trešnjevka in Zagreb yesterday morning, thus violating the current ban on the work of gyms and sports centers set by the Civil Protection Headquarters. Article 180 of the Criminal Code stipulates that a person could be punished by up to two years in prison for such an act.
However, as Index reports, the prosecution did not ask for pre-trial detention, so he was released. Klarić stated that the prosecution had no evidence against him, that he was not a spreader of the infection, and that double standards applied in Croatia because some could work while others are forbidden the constitutional right to work.
He even called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to resign and call elections because he believes that the government is not coping well with the coronavirus crisis. Also, he invited citizens to gather tomorrow for a protest on Ban Jelačić Square at 10 am and “oppose the deprivation of civil liberties.”
“I knew that what I was doing was right. I know we’re not spreaders of the virus. They don’t have any evidence. Of the total number infected by November 1, 181 are from ‘gyms,’ which is less than 0.5 percent. They can’t declare gyms dangerous places,” said Klarić.
Spas and shopping malls still operating
He compared the example of gyms with spas and shopping malls that are opened.
Klarić claims that everyone in the gym adhered to epidemiological measures and that everyone who came to exercise had already gotten over the coronavirus. The police officers, the state inspectorate, and the state attorney, he says, were fair and kind. They were even “embarrassed that they had to do it.”
“The police officers were phenomenal. At the end of the investigation, the gentleman said – a hero, not a criminal,” Klarič said after his release from custody. He says that he would repeat the same thing in the same circumstances and does not think he did anything wrong.
“He who is ready to give freedom for security. did not deserve either. When injustice becomes the law, then resistance becomes an obligation,” Klarić stressed, adding that everything possible should be done to prevent those who do wrong.
‘Small step for Andrija, significant for Croatia’
His lawyer Gordan Marović also gave a statement to the media.
“He will be released. The State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH) did not request pre-trial detention for him,” Marović said.
“He understands this as a fight not only for his justice but also a fight for everyone. He believes that there were a lot of people not fighting for their own rights,” Marović said about Klarić, adding that he feels injustice.
“The right to work is a matter of personal freedoms and human rights. The constitution guarantees the right before the law, and we see that not everyone is equal before the law because some can work, others cannot,” he added.
When asked why Klarić did it, given the penalties and given that he did it himself, Marović paraphrased Neil Armstrong: “This is a small step for Andrija, but a big one for Croatia. Someone has finally put his personal interests ahead of society’s interests.”
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