The visit of two uniformed police officers to the national media outlet Radio-Television Slovenia (RTVS) in search of the long-time journalist Jože Možina, the police inquiring with farmers about their participation in the farmers’ protests, and even the recent inquiry of the Financial Police of the Republic of Slovenia about protesters who went to a pensioners’ protest, have many worried that the use of the police to restrict protests and freedom of speech is apparently becoming a trend. “Some things, such as the Možina case and the farmers’ union case, when people were visited and asked who was going to Ljubljana, are things that practically did not happen even under socialism,” pointed out former Interior Minister Dr Vinko Gorenak, who also said that the police must find ways and procedures to carry out their tasks legally.
In the case of the police visiting farmers’ homes in the run-up to the farmers’ protests, asking whether or not farmers Janez, Miha, Pepa, or anyone else would go to the protests, Dr Vinko Gorenak said that they did not do this even under socialism. “This is also completely unusual. What does the police have to do with whether I will or will not go to a protest? Participation in a public gathering is a constitutional right, and if farmers or anyone goes to this public protest, it is absolutely clear that by doing so, they are completely within the framework of the constitution, which allows them to do so,” he pointed out, adding that this was completely inadmissible.
This is an unacceptable abuse of police and police powers
“I am once again going to refer to the socialist times, when I was the head of the local police in Celje, and I know how and what was being done at the time,” he further explained in the case of Možina. He said that if they had got a warrant in 1985 to arrest, interrogate or whatever else a worker behind the conveyor belt, then it is absolutely clear here that the police cannot enter the factory, that is to say, the company, and remove that worker from the conveyor belt and talk to him, because the wrong products will be produced and the conveyor belt will not work. “The point is that under socialism, if the police wanted to talk to a worker, a plant manager, about any subject, they had to go to the bosses, the bosses could replace the individual worker behind the conveyor belt, and only then could the police talk to him. But now, two policemen came to RTV and asked where Jože Možina is because he broadcast a programme that somebody did not like. Excuse me, this is an unacceptable abuse of police and police powers,” he was critical.
This did not happen even under socialism
Regarding the police comment that Možina had allegedly pressured the police with his tweets, Gorenak asked – who is crazy here? “Jože Možina cannot put pressure on the police, which has 8 thousand and more people employed. How can one put pressure on the police? He published a fact that happened, that two policemen came to RTVS and were looking for him,” he stressed, adding that there were two disasters here, firstly that the policemen came to RTVS at all, and secondly, what the management did in this case. He said that it was difficult to assess what the reason for the policemen’s arrival was, whether it was the broadcast or some suspicion of a crime (the latter, he does not believe at all). “In short, the powers are different, but in all cases, the police cannot come to the RTVS, to the public institution, and look for a journalist, any journalist, even a far-left one, but first they have to get to the management,” he explained, adding that the first thing they have to do is to try to solve the case, a task they have to do outside RTVS, because Jože Možina also has an address which is probably known.
“They can invite him to the station in writing, call him on the phone and ask to speak to him. They can do all that, but they can’t come to RTVS, break into a public institution, and look for Možina. This did not happen even under socialism,” he explained, stressing that an individual cannot influence police procedures. The police is an institution with 8 thousand people, specialists who know how to investigate anything. “The police have to find ways and procedures to carry out any task legally.” He said that he was also very annoyed that neither the Slovene Association of Journalists (DNS) nor the management of RTVS had spoken out in this case, but that the Association should have shouted in public that this should not be happening and that they were protecting their journalists, regardless of their orientation.
Regarding the inspection involving the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia, Gorenak said that it was difficult for him to assess whether it was a coincidence that they stopped the bus on its way to Maribor or not. He said that he is more inclined to believe that it was not a coincidence. “I cannot accuse the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia of anything. I hope they are not spending their time dealing with a bus from Maribor. In my estimation, what happened was that a patrol of the tax administration saw a bus with some banners, flags, and they assumed that the passengers were returning from the pensioners’ protest with Rupar. Because the patrol leader was determined, the two investigators were determined, they decided to stop the passengers and start some procedures.” He stressed that he cannot dispute their powers, but if they are politically motivated, that is a problem.
The former minister also spoke about the police and its political balance. He said that, in principle, police officers work until the age of 54 because they have a supplementary pension scheme. This means that there is no one in the police force today who was still working in the previous system and militia. “They are all new. There are a few individuals who do not want to retire and are prolonging their service, but of the 8,000 police officers today, 99 % are people who have been employed since the 1990s. One would, therefore, assume that there is a plural political balance, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The police, as a repressive body, is totally left-wing, politically speaking. Today, after 30 years, the police is totally left-wing in its political orientation, and that is a fact.”
The police should be apolitical
He explained why that is the case by talking about a specific case from 2010 or 2011, when at the police training centre in Gotenica, the commanding officer or chief of education asked 20-year-olds who were being trained to become future police officers what had happened on that day on the 4th of May, 1980. “They stared at him with blank expression. Then he said, on this day in 1980, Comrade Tito died, the creator of the new Yugoslavia, where life was great, and that he is the one who is responsible for an independent Slovenia and the one who made them become policemen today, and so on. You are talking about a criminal who had a million people murdered. You must be crazy,” Gorenak said, adding that such things make the police today left-leaning. He also stressed that the police should be completely apolitical and that no political orientation, no political action and no political signal or membership can or should influence police procedures. He recalled the case from 2012, when the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) accused Janša of not being able to explain where he got 200,000 euros in assets, while Janković had 2.5 million assets of unexplained origin. “Janša was investigated, but Janković was not. Why not?” Gorenak concluded.