November 10, 2020 – Joso Mraovic, known as one of the founders of the HDZ in Lika, who was also called “Lički Tuđman”, died yesterday in the Rijeka hospital from coronavirus.
According to Maxportal, because he was infected with the coronavirus a few days ago, he was admitted to the Rijeka Clinical Hospital, where he was on the respirator, and passed away on Monday afternoon. He had underlying heart and blood pressure problems.
The news of his death was published by the Gospić HDZ.
“Today is a particularly sad day for the two Mraović families, the family of the late Joso and the late Mile. Today is a sad day for all the founders of HDZ and the Croatian state, today is a sad day for all Croatian defenders of Gospić and Bilaj. Unexpectedly, two true patriots left us, two falcons who participated in all important processes from the very beginning of the creation of the Croatian state.
Dear Mraović families, we are proud that we participated with Joso and Mile in the creation of our only homeland, and we hereby express our sincere condolences on behalf of all HDZ founders from the town of Gospić. Joso and Mile will be with us and in our hearts forever,” reads the post on their Facebook page.
The news was confirmed for 24sata by the Lika-Senj County Prefect Darko Milinović, who knew Mraović.
The controversial politician and businessman died at the age of 68, and apart from the founding of the HDZ, he was also known to the Croatian public for the affair of raping American Ilisha Jarrett, a former Gospić basketball player. For that case, known publicly as the „ličko rukovanje“ („Lika handshake“), he was sentenced to two years in prison in 2005.
As Jutarnji list reports, the case then attracted a lot of attention, especially because of the reasoning of the verdict of Gospić judge Branko Milanović, who acquitted Mraović in the first trial. Namely, to the dismay of the public, he stated that forcible pushing of a finger into the anus should not be understood as rape and that it is actually identical to shaking hands, which is why the term “ličko rukovanje” (“Lika handshake”) was later coined.
However, the Supreme Court overturned that verdict and returned the case to the court in Rijeka, where Mraović was sentenced to three years in prison for lewd acts identical to rape. The Supreme Court reduced his sentence to two years, and he was eventually released from prison four months earlier, in 2011.
Mraović was expelled from the HDZ in 2001, and two years ago, there was talk of his return to the party, even though this was not possible after he was convicted of a crime.
The nickname “Lički Tuđman” (“Lika’s Tuđman”) was given to him in his homeland because of his distinctive political appearance and influence, and the whole of Lika knew him by that nickname. He was a member of the Gospić City Council and the Lika-Senj County Assembly. He was renowned as a wealthy and powerful man.
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