Darko Kovačević will be released on Sunday (Photo: Sanjin Strukic/PIXSELL) Darko Kovačević will be released on Sunday (Photo: Sanjin Strukic/PIXSELL)

Kovačević was convicted of battery and sentenced to five years in prison on January 10, but he will not begin serving his sentence until the verdict is final. As it approved his release on Friday, the court in Zadar did not place Kovačević under any restrictions. This means that when he is released, there is no legal obstacle to keep him from approaching the victim. He will not be required to turn over his travel documents or barred from leaving the country. Furthermore, he will not be required to report to the police regularly.

“The court was making a decision on terminating investigative custody. Since the investigative custody period runs out on Sunday, the court had no choice but to approve his release. The court denied the second motion, submitted by prosecutors, to impose restrictions on him,” said Denis Klarendić, the spokesperson for the court.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the independence of the courts must be respected, but said the government would be looking into how to fix some of the soft-spots in the law.

“I don’t know why the restrictions were rejected. That is difficult for me, and the public, to understand. That’s why it is important for us to pay attention to these loopholes. The treatment of the accused must be balanced, but we must also respect the rights of the victim,” Plenković said.

The fact that Kovačević will have full freedom of movement is cause for concern for the victim’s family. It has also sparked outrage in the community. Activists are planning to protest his release on Saturday afternoon in the main square.