ZAGREB, September 12, 2018 – Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Tomo Medved said on Wednesday that convicted war criminal Tomislav Merčep was serving his prison sentence in the Krapinske Toplice spa on doctor’s recommendation.
“We have supported this initiative, as we usually do in such situations, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice,” Medved said ahead of a meeting of the inner Cabinet when asked by the press to comment on the news article on the Index website saying that Merčep was spending his time in a spa instead of a prison cell.
Medved said that they support this way of serving prison terms in the case of Homeland War veterans and if doctors recommend such a form of rehabilitation when institutions in which they serve their prison sentences cannot provide such services.
In May 2016, Merčep, who had served as an assistant to the minister of the interior during the war, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for failure to prevent the unit under his command from committing war crimes against Serb civilians. In February 2017, the Supreme Court increased his sentence to seven years.
The indictment says that Merčep’s men unlawfully arrested 52 persons in Kutina, Pakrac and Zagreb and killed 43 of them. Three are still listed as missing, while six survived torture and abuse.