Predrag Matvejević

Predrag Matvejević is a writer born in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1932 to a Croatian mother and a Russian father. He is now a naturalised Italian citizen.

He is known for his writing as well as for his political activism. His book Mediterranean Breviary: A Cultural Landscape has been a bestseller in many European countries, and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Matvejević emigrated to France in 1991, but from 1994 to 2008 he lived in Italy. He taught at the University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle (New Sorbonne) in Paris as well as in the Sapienza in Rome, and is an honorary Vice-President of the International PEN Center. He is a member of the advisory board of the left-wing magazine Novi Plamen.

Conviction for defamation

In November 2001, Predrag Matvejević published an essay-length article titled "Our Talibans" in Jutarnji list. In that article he accused some writers of warmongering during the Yugoslav Wars, among them Mile Pešorda, a Croatian writer. Mile Pešorda filed a lawsuit against him and the trial was started in March 2003. On November 2, 2005 Matvejević was found guilty on the charge of defamation. He was sentenced to five months’ probation and ordered to publish the verdict at his own cost in Jutarnji list and to pay 5,000 kuna (circa $1000) of trial costs. Matvejević did not appeal. He made a statement that an appeal would signify an acknowledgment of the verdict and the ones who issued it. On December 20, 2005, the verdict was upheld by an appeals court