Croatia: Last-Ditch Efforts To Prevent Extradition For Communist Crimes

Josip Perkovic (L) Zdravko Mustac (R)

Josip Perkovic (L) Zdravko Mustac (R)

The District court in Zagreb ruled on Wednesday 8 January that the communist-era intelligence chief, Josip Perkovic, could be extradited to Germany where he is wanted over a killing of Croatian emigrant Stjepan Djurekovic in the 1980s.
On Thursday 9 January the District court in Velika Gorica (near Zagreb airport) ruled that the second ex-communist secret service chief, Zdravko Mustac, couldn’t be extradited to Germany (wanted for the same crime as Perkovic) because of Statute of Limitations.

Some 15 Km apart, two courts in Croatia, rule in opposite directions – on the same crime of murder that occurred in Germany in 1983!

You may well ask: how on Earth can this be possible?
Aren’t all courts in the country supposed to rule in similar ways on the same cases, under the same laws? You’d think so. But, we are dealing here with what seem to be last-ditch efforts by lawyers defending Josip Perkovic to prevent his extradition to Germany to face the German courts on what is classified as a “communist crime” or political assassination of persons by the ex-Yugoslav communist regime.

So, since last Wednesday, Perkovic’s lawyer Ante Nobilo (whose law office also defends Mustac!) has been working frantically, trying to make a case against extradition court decision, pending an appeal. He went on saying how Statute of Limitations or related laws had changed a number of times since 1983 and that his client has the right to chose the one that suits him best. I.e., chose the one under which Statute of Limitations in Croatia precludes his client from being extradited.  Nobilo expressed the view that Perkovic would not receive a just trial in Germany, which is ludicrous! Yesterday, 14 January, Nobilo stated that he has received a statement from Vinko Sindicic (a Yugoslav communist secret police operative convicted in the UK to 15 years prison for attempted assassination of Croat émigré Nikola Stedul in 1988 in Scotland and whose name has also been associated with the murder in Germany of Croat family Sevo) in which he says that he had lied (committed perjury) in the German court which convicted Krunoslav Prates in relation to the murder of the same Stjepan Djurekovic, Perkovic and Mustac are sought for by German court – how miraculously convenient!

To make matters worse for those yearning for justice for victims of communist crimes, the Croatian State Attorney Office has now shown its full colours: it too wants to stifle the extradition to Germany.
Yesterday, 14 January Croatia’s Office of State Attorney, as party to these two cases in Croatian courts, has filed an appeal NOT against the decision made by the court in Velika Gorica against extradition of Mustac BUT against the Zagreb court decision to extradite Perkovic! This has enraged many in Croatia as it’s seen as yet another ploy to defer or prevent processes dealing with communist crimes. Some say that the Croatian State Attorney is on the path to open a whole new trial in Croatia in the case of the murder of Djurekovic in 1983 in Germany! If this is true then the State Attorney, Mladen Bajic, is handing out an indictment of bad and rotten practices against German courts and German judiciary (?).

Some say that Germany as country seeking extradition should file an appeal, while Zeljko Olujic, a well known lawyer and former State Attorney in Croatia, sees the moves by the Croatian Office of State Attorney as attempts to save Perkovic and Mustac from accountability for acts they committed in the former communist Yugoslavia. “That is the opinion of the State Attorney who currently finds himself in times of re-elections and who exclusively flirts with politics, which is scandalous. This what’s happening in Croatia is the twilight of the legal system and the rule of law in the state,” said Olujic for Croatian TV news.

So, to say matters simply, one would have expected the Office of State Attorney to take a different path in ensuring that both District courts delivering on the same case, but different defendants, make similar or same judgments regarding extradition. After all what kind of a country can Croatia be when courts can interpret a simple matter such as Statute of Limitations for murder in such conflicting ways! Only a country which is failing scandalously in transitioning from communism into democracy and only a country that has as its State Attorney a person with heavy political leanings when there should be none – I’d say! The Office State Attorney by appealing one of the court decisions, the one to do with Perkovic’s extradition rather than appealing the other, the one of Mustac’s non-extradition, has clearly taken sides. The side it has taken – not to extradite Perkovic – seems to me to be an attack on judiciary, an attack on democracy, an attack on the people and victims of communist crimes to whom these cases under Germany’s arrest warrant mean a great deal.

A spark of good hope in these matters, though, is that the family of Stjepan Djurekovic has, according to Croatian HRT TV news, filed an appeal against the court decision in Velika Gorica and seek Mustac’s extradition or that all courts dealing with the issue of extradition rule similarly. Whether the court will accept their appeal is yet to be seen given that they were not a party to the proceedings.

After all these appeals in lower courts are exhausted we may yet be pleasantly surprised because the Supreme court in Croatia will be the step in this process that will deliver the final ruling on extradition of Perkovic and Mustac and it will need to rule on equal ground in both cases. We may yet celebrate the extradition of Perkovic and Mustac to Germany. But then again, we may be in for an even bumpier and a more torturous path for dealing with communist crimes in Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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Comments

  1. What a ridiculous farce. How embarrassing for Croatia. This gives our enemies and detractors rich material to further anti-Cro activities.

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  2. Wilkinson says:

    What a nasty piece of work Vinko Sindicic is – while in hiding to avoid arrest for perjury, he now admits he lied in court in Germany! And to make things more disgusting Ante Nobilo, the lawyer, boasts about Sindicic’s statement! I say, if Sindicic admits to lying in court he can never be trusted to tell the truth, his credibility is shot out of the water! This is total madness! I hope Germany puts its foot down and drags both Perkovic and Mustac toi Germany

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  3. Perhaps Vinko Sindićić was a ”Greenhorn” in Toronto. …At the beginning of the Croatian Spring and the student strike in Zagreb and other parts of the former Yugos_ _ _ _a, as I recall, I was one of two young men named to ensure the security of our guest speaker Dr. Branko Jelić, who came to us from Germany. Our assingment was to search any person we deemed suspicious. Dr. Branko Jelić began his speach, the church hall was packed, standing room only. When an unknown individual attempted to enter, we frisked him and discovered he had a hidden revolver on his person. We allowed him to leave the church hall on #3 Awde St. in Toronto (now Croatia Avenue!), but we followed him keeping a safe distance. As fate would have it a police patrol was passing by, we managed to flag the officer down, informed him of the firearms armed pedestrian attempting to flee into the ”Dufferin Mall” He was apprehended without an incident. The very next day, as a court witness in the court hearing I was shocked, it was disclosed that he had several false Passports, all from the eastern block countries. Much to our surprise, he was fined $25.00 remanded in custody and expropriated to Yugoslavija on the first available flight… No I can not state with 100% certainty, but when I first saw a picture of Vinko Sindićić, I was shocked at the resemblance. Of course the Metro Toronto Police are known to keep records of all firearms offences, thus it can be verified. Unfortunately some six months later Dr. Branko Jelić was killed while walking to his practice in Munchen Germany, they planted a bomb in the sidewalk! I decided to repatriate in 1991 moved to Croatia and had the privilage of being a part of the ”building block” of our foundations, shared the good and the evils of the war for the homeland with my fellow combatants. Now I am shocked every time I switch on the daily news, news that the extreme left wing government is manufacturing, creating a divide, a gap so wide, I fear it the gap will be impossible to breach if we allow the Zoran Milanović Government to continue on a course without a Captain worth his calling, nor does he have a road map, a sexton or a compass for this nightmare of a voyage…

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    • Tomislav Damjanovic thanks for sharing that story from Toronto…it demonstrates how underhanded, evil and dangerous communist secret service operated in their hunt…and yes the current government and the Social democrats with their allies must be evacuated from seats of authority, lustration to occur and shocks of which you speak should be significantly reduced if not disappear

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      • therealamericro says:

        Tomislav:

        That just goes to show how, despite all of the rhetoric about freedom and democracy by Western governments (your Canadian and my American governtment, for instance), politics always prevails.

        Your illustration is a great point, as is Mr. Glavas from Chicago – UDBa sent three killers to off him, and he happened to leave his house early one day. The animals rang, his wife answered, obviously knew something was up, and they sliced her up. This was in the 1980s.

        The investigation ended 24 hours later, no charges filed.

        There is a reason that the ONLY government in Europe pushing any accountability for UDBa is Germany, and by proxy, the EU (only because Germany is the strongest power in it and is forcing it to happen).

        All of the loud mouthed embassies in Zagreb that see “Ustashe” and “Croatian nationalists” in their shadows and under every rock and behind every corner have absolutely not breathed a word about the legal farce with Perkovic and Mustac.

        All of this demonstrates who Croatia’s, and the freedom loving Croatian people’s friends are.

        All of the loudmouth embassies subsidized the recidivist elements of the ancien regime during the war, and since the war, and still do.

        A Croatia that cleans up the Communist cancer is a Croatia that is free and unable to be influenced to do things against its own will and interests.

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  4. therealamericro says:

    What shocks me is that BaBe, HHO, Documenta, Centar za Mir i Nenasilje, and the usual human rights luminaries in Croatia (Goldstein Sr., Goldstein Jr., Puhovski, and all of the Western embassies who always have something to say about “Croatian nationalism”) are mysteriously deafeningly silent.

    Shocking.

    …..

    Sarcasm over.

    The human rights rackets are all controlled and staffed by UDBa, KOS and KPH/KPJ members, and all of the aforementioned were subsidized by most of this blog’s readers’ governments, who put them back into power in 2000 after nine short years of freedom and independence.

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    • Yep therealamericro it may well be that what we are seeing is an effect of being in the EU, a slight or otherwise brush with the EU’s leftist wing which works in back rooms on overtime, under-the-table manner I’m suspect

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  5. therealamericro says:

    BTW Ina, great find in terms of the video, along with another great piece.

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    • Glad you agree re video therealamericro, such material is necessary for the readers of this blog who may not know enough about the issue and may need associated information regarding an issue in order to understand the article better in the context of the issues at hand etc. And because this blog is read worldwide by people of different backgrounds etc it is necessary as you agree to provide good and credible sources.

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  6. therealamericro says:

    The intrigue over all of this is only going to thicken, especially on the pages of the government’s personal bilten(s) via the joint media criminal enterprise known as EPH, which consistently engages in excessive and indiscriminate lying, manipulating, misrepresenting and libeling.

    I wonder what machinated, insignificant and nationally inconsequential non-“scandal” will be over-reported to cover up for this monstrous violation of the law, ethics, basic morality and decency, and all democratic values….

    This farce shows how deep the power of that Belgrade lover Perkovic is.

    Foreign centers of power want the ancient regime remnants and recidivists to continue to exert disproportionate influence within and over the country. A strong Croatia is bad for their interests, and means that the long-term strategy of farcial “reforms” in Serbia and an accelerated accession to redominate the region politically and economically will be threatened.

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    • Yes therealamericro, lucky though that many Croats want a strong Croatia and perhaps will be effective in ensuring that it does become strong – the alternative looks too distressing to even contemplate as long-term future for the ordinary person/citizen.

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  7. Minutestokeep says:

    Deutsche Welle
    http://www.dw.de/perkovic-extradition-saga-continues/a-17352849
    …The judge in the Prates trial, Bernd von Heintschel-Heinegg, defended his decision to DW, saying Sindicic was an important witness whose testimony he trusted…
    It’s not a given that the Supreme Court will adhere to the Zagreb judges’ decision. In similar cases in the past, it has also decided against extraditing Croatian citizens. Former German judge Bernd von Heintschel-Heinegg believes that Croatian authorities, too, “have an interest in staging the Perkovic trial in Croatia.” He adds that it would also be possible to holdthe trial in Germany, but enforce a potential verdict in Croatia.
    What can I say: matter about Vinko Sindicic is a fix ! A Communist fix!

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    • Minutestokeep, thanks for link to DW and yes it will be interesting to see how the German judges who “believed”in Sindicic’s testimony will comment, if at all, Sindicic’s alleged public confession that he had lied! Certainly this confession would shake the foundation of judgment in Germany which saw Prates jailed etc and the question of new trial for the murder of Djurekovic may well be put BUT I would hate to see any such new trial conducted in Croatia – besides that is simply not done in legal and judicial terms as a rule, exceptions have been sen in past but they are of strict nature which doesn’t seem to be the case here…

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  8. therealamericro says:

    The Sindicic change of heart was and is all part of the plan.

    The problem is that it was not made before a German magistrate, therefore it is legally worthless.

    Bozo Vuksic pointed out in his article in Hrvatski Tjednik this week that when Perkovic was nabbed by BND, another “Croatian” UDBas (field operative) was nabbed with him and debriefed. He spilled the beans in return for amnesty; it goes without saying that the Germans are sitting on a lot of juicy things that they have not let out to the public yet.

    This smoke and mirrors campaign is only going to escalate.

    How much do you want to bet all of the sudden, out of the blue, there will be indictments for Croats in RH or HRHB for “war crimes” that never happened sometime in the near future?

    It is a total farce. Croatia is a state on paper only, unfortunately. The UDBa cancerous tumors and their “former” KPH/KPJ puss control the judiciary and media and a good part of government.

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    • Yes indeed therealamericro, the Sindicic sudden “revelation” is not sudden at all but part of a plan, those who know how UDBA worked/works can see that and hopefully plenty of those around to not let this go on without a fight and without the aim to overpower it…the fact that Germany is there makes things a bit more promising but UDBA is and was ruthless and its nasty shoots have been spread to the offspring who protect their ancestry at all costs…not for long, not for long is the chant we need to keep repeating in our heads and as drivers of our actions, for true freedom and democracy

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  9. therealamericro says:

    Article on BI on this topic. http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/yugoslav-spy-murder-witness-alleges-german-intimidation

    I posted this, we’ll see if they allow it to be posted. I have my doubts:

    While I expected the UDBa / KOS controlled and or influenced media in Croatia to cover the Sindicic false and predictable change of heart uncritically, I did not expect that from any other media.

    Sindicic was an operative, and the best (and I don’t mean that in a positive sense, just operational) agent / assassin UDBa had at that time by many statements by former top UDBa heads (whose lack of indictments demonstrate what a farce the judiciary in Croatia and fmr. Yugoslav states in general is / are).

    The man was and remains a stone cold, unremourseful killer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg4fkEMbqkY) of Communist regime opponents and or dissenters.

    What is not being reported is the fact that his change of heart is legally meaningless as it was not made before a German magistrate and court, so it in no way shape or form can or should influence the Perkovic ruling in Croatia.

    The article suggests he was a BND double-agent – this is patently false, because if anything he was a triple agent, but even that is false.

    The entire judicial farce with Sindicic and Prates is two-fold. First is to protect Perkovic and his boss Mustac, the second is to derail the Prates conviction. This way they as individuals are protected, and their rule through the shadows in Croatia is also not just protected, but cemented.

    The entire farce over Perkovic, and the rape of justice, and basic ethics and morality with the outright rejection of the Mustac extradition, demonstrate how deep the post-UDBa UDBa state is in Croatia.

    This is for various reasons, and it has to do entirely with Western centers of power ensuring there was no lustration laws passed in any former Yugoslav state, as they were in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

    First and foremost, they uncritically watched the rise of Milosevic (save a few US congressmen denouncing the neo-Apartheid policies that he enforced in Kosovo in the late 1980s).

    Every member of the UNSC more or less tacitly supported Milosevic and Serbia with the passing of the arms embargo which ensured Serbian military supremacy, as well as the near-bankrupting costs of arming for Croatia and B&H by being forced to purchase arms at 3 times the market value on the black market. This was all part of the subversive pro-Serb strategy for (greater) Serbian supremacy in the region.

    Then US Secretary of State James Baker, as well as National Security advisor Brent Scowcroft and Ambassador to Yugoslavia Lawrence Eagleburger were in a blatant conflict of interest with their business interests in Belgrade, tied to both the comically cheap Yugo cars as well as Yugoslav arms industry (Crvena Zastava, which was illegally breaking the arms embargo by selling arms to Libya – something the Washington Post reported in the fall of 1991).

    Belgrade had the political support it needed in the UN and the West (in the early 1990s, the top US officials with the ability to stop them entirely compromised by a blatant conflict of interest, and historically and gushingly pro-Serb France, UK, Netherlands, Russia and Communist China diplomacy and media lobbying and cheerleading for them, the duration of the Croatian / Bosnian wars).

    Baker gave Milosevic the green light prior to outright war (the one-on-one meetig following the Yugoslav People’s Army open intervention in the town of Pakrac on behalf of the “Krajina” paramilitaries they had been forming, training and arming, along with Serbian State Security Services, Yugoslav Counterintelligence, and Serbian Ministry of the Interior a full year before any non-Communist political party and the Croatian Democratic Union-HDZ, formed), and Western media carped that the Yugoslav military would crush Croatia in two weeks.

    Well, it didn’t. And Milosevic’s Yugoslav Army forces, as well as “Krajina” forces (and later Bosnian Serb Army forces, along with “Krajina” and Bosnian Serb political leadership) were so drunk on their own propaganda that they were entirely non-discreet in their systematic war crimes (outlined and ordered in detail in the Rampart [RAM] Plan authored by the YPA and YPA Counterintelligence leadership, which was disseminated to all Serbian military and paramilitary operational zone, down to platoon and squad commanders and leaders), which became a problem, especially with the CNN effect (which, while the journalists constistently equated guilt, the scale, and obvious [and documented via RAM Plan] planning was too much to be spun) that mobilized lawmakers and politically active citizenry in the West to do something.

    That, along with European inaction and Clinton’s own domestic scandals, turned around US policy in terms of geostrategy. Peace had to be imposed. So a blind eye was turned to Croatians’ arming, and more robust professionalization of the military which was assisted in terms of training.

    This, however, did not change the fact that Western centers of power were generously financing any and all opponents of Milosevic, whose opponents were more ultranationalist than he was (see fascist Chetnik revisionist Vuk Draskovic), and in the case of most of them, closely collaborating with Serbian intelligence and counterintelligence, but also the man Serbia’s intelligence and counterintelligence operatives in the controlled “opposition” Serbia media (who Western journalists parrotted uncritically 1991-1995) falsely equated with Milosevic, Croatian President Dr. Franjo Tudman.

    The opposition in Croatia, save Tudman critic and Yugoslav Communist critic, as well as Yugoslav political prisoner Drazen Budisa, was, like most of the opposition media, led and staffed almost entirely by “former” Yugoslav Communists, and in the case of many in the opposition media, former regime propagandists, who were all tied to the pre-war UDBa apparatus.

    This was the same case with many of the farcial NGOs that formed, and that are still around today (the deafening silence of all of them on the Perkovic and Mustac affair is not inconspicuous, it is damning evidence against them).

    In the rest of Central Europe, Communists were an afterthought and on the political and social fringes, and rightfully so.

    Between 1990 through to today, from the West, tens millions of dollars were pumped to these media organizations, who would regularly regurgiate Belgrade media hate speech and propaganda, as well as NGOs who would do the same, and to individual journalists who would rehash discredited wartime propaganda of Milosevic to subvert the truth and chronology of events.

    The main, overarching strategy was guilt equivocation via cherry picking of statements out of context, as well as events – no matter how irrational, illogical, blatantly false, and entirely debunked by the actual voting trends, chronological order of events, order of battle and citation of statements and or documents in full / in context.

    The reason – to justify the international and Western powers’ scandalously undemocratic, unethical and immoral tacit (and in the case of Russia, France, Netherlands, China and the UK, open) support for Milosevic’s expansionist plans (in large part due to the bizarre obsession with having a hostile southern neighbor to a united Germany).

    Once the bloodshed was ended entirely thanks to the Croatian and B&H Croatian miltitary, which crushed Martic’s and Mladic’s forces forcing the Dayton Agreement, work began on regime change – not in Serbia, which planned and carried out the wars and committed well over 90 percent of all of the attrocities, but “authoritarian” Croatia where the media was freer during the [eak of the war than it is today.

    The hysteria of “Croatian” “”opposition”” media, NGOs and politicians (save Budisa, who was, despite some of his own very naive and irrational positions, at least a real opposition leader and critic not tainted by service to a totalitarian regime) uncritically repeated debunked Belgrade cliches and propaganda (which was in terms of Western and international media and pseudo-historical literature, also regurgitated ad infinitum).

    When Croatian President Dr. Franjo Tudman died, this campaign went into overdrive.

    And, instead of financing the true blue liberal democrat and Communism as well as Tudman (in the case of Tudman, for all the wrong reasons) critic Budisa, to help democratic transition and a final reckoning with the “former” Communist elites who switched to both major parties (HDZ and SDP) and who oversaw many illegal privatizations, the West financed fanatical Yugoslav and Tito apologist, as well as war profiteer and illegal privatization participant Stipe Mesic for President and former Croatian Communist Party head Ivica Racan for Prime Minister.

    Upon their election, politically motived firings in intelligence (Franjo Turek, who proved that foreign intelligence services were illegally financing untransparent media and NGO “activists”), the military (nearly all of the successful wartime Generals) and civil service to be replaced with recidivist elements of the former Yugoslav Communist regime in Croatia.

    Illegal privatizations not only continued, but exponentially increased at the expense of Croatian taxpayers and workers.

    This was coupled with the ICTY, which had been working with the Milosevic fanatic as well as Milosevic, Martic, Babic, Mrksic, Perisic, Hadzic, Simatovic and Stanisic joint criminal enterprise participant, as well as “Veritas” NGO founder and wartime “Krajina” Secretary Savo Strbac, began writing indictments incriminating not just the entire wartime Croatian general staff, but also its entire political leadership with “evidence” provided by Strbac and “Veritas,” who were coordinating with “Croatian” NGOs, namely HHO, which was formed by Zarko Puhovski (whose shoddy, contradictory and unsubstantiated “evidence” was thrown out of the Gotovina et. all trial it was so ridiculously false). The same criteria for Croatian military (operational and operational zone commanders) and political commanders were mysteriously not reciprocated with either Serb nor Muslim military or political commanders or leaders.

    When General Gotovina fled Croatia, rightfully fearing for his life, the media and politicians who are defending Perkovic today, and how he and Mustac cannot be extradited no matter what the cost, were carping about how Croatia could not be the hostage of one man.

    The same foreign embassies, in particular, Western embassies in Croatia who were threatening Croatia with sanctions over entirely innocent Gen. Gotovina, are now deafeningly silent on Perkovic and Mustac (along with the parade of vocal Croatian self-described NGOs).

    The wolf-pack theory / chaos theory in action. Carrots and sticks to keep Croatia in a constant state of instability.

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  10. therealamericro says:

    Another BI article, by Drago Hedl.

    I commented on it yesterday, has not been uploaded yet.

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  11. therealamericro says:

Trackbacks

  1. […] had resulted in one District court ruling extradition and the other against, as I wrote in my previous post. There’s a window of 10 days from the Supreme Court decision within which Perkovic is to be […]

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  2. […] I write this I am very mindful that Zdravko Mustac, also a chief of Yugoslav communist secret police UDBA and liquidators of Croatian émigrés across […]

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