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Football fan accused of giving Nazi salute during match claims he drank so many beers he can’t remember if he committed shameful act

A man dressed in military camouflage told police he “couldn’t remember” whether he made a gesture police believe was a Nazi salute during a highly charged football grand final because he had drunk too much, a court heard.

Nikola Marko Gasparovic, Dominik Sieben and Marijan Lisica separately attended the highly charged Australian Cup final between Sydney United 58 and Macarthur on October 1, 2022.

The men are all of Croatian descent and are keen supporters of Sydney United.

The three men were separately captured performing a so-called “Hitler salute” on CCTV and during a Channel 10 broadcast of the match.

The men are each fighting a charge of knowingly displaying by a public act a Nazi symbol without reasonable excuse at a hearing before Magistrate Joy Boulos that entered its second day Tuesday.

Marijan Lisica (pictured) has appeared in court accused of performing a Nazi salute during the Australian Cup final in Sydney in October 2022.

The 45-year-old (pictured outside the court) was caught committing the shameful act, according to footage taken by Channel 10.

The 45-year-old (pictured outside the court) was caught committing the shameful act, according to footage taken by Channel 10.

Parramatta Local Court was shown body camera footage of an interview with Mr Lisica months after the alleged incident.

The 45-year-old told Detective Sergeant Aaron Turner he dressed in military camouflage and wore a rosary at the match in ‘honor of those who died at home during the war in the 1990s’ .

The court was told that Mr Lisica also brought a large homemade banner reading “Za Dom”, which translates to “for the homeland”.

Asked if he gave a “Nazi salute” at the match, Mr Lisica said he “didn’t even remember” after drinking 10 beers before and during the match.

“I had a few drinks…I was at the top of the stadium, sitting with my huge flag,” he said in the footage.

He told Sergeant Turner that he sat at the top of the stadium for “30 to 40 minutes”, looking out at the crowd and became “emotional”.

“All of a sudden they’re calling us fascists… hands are up everywhere and they’re calling us,” he said.

Asked what his state of mind would be if it turned out he had given a Nazi salute, Mr Lisica replied that “people interpret things in their own way”.

But he says it’s an appreciation for his Croatian people that “goes back centuries.”

“I don’t understand why everyone always says if we raise our hands it’s a Nazi salute,” he said.

Dominik Sieben (pictured in court) told police he was just having a beer and trying to cheer on his team when he allegedly performed the salute.

Dominik Sieben (pictured in court) told police he was just having a beer and trying to cheer on his team when he allegedly performed the salute.

Sieben was filmed by Channel 10 performing the salute (pictured) while supporting Sydney United 58 in the final.

Sieben was filmed by Channel 10 performing the salute (pictured) while supporting Sydney United 58 in the final.

“I don’t believe it’s Nazism. If they did what they did, it was for Croatia.”

Footage played in court on Monday showed Mr Sieben telling police he was disgusted that the media had “distorted” a photo of him to make it appear he was displaying the Nazi salute.

The 25-year-old, who described himself as a videographer, told police he had a “long story” to tell them.

“Long story short, I went to see lawyers… it was disgusting, all of that, everything that was being accused of me,” Mr. Sieben told police.

He told police he had a beer in one hand and was trying to cheer on his team with his other arm.

“Everyone was chanting…the media took my picture and twisted everything to make it look like someone I’m not,” he said.

“It had nothing to do with Hitler’s bullshit…none of that bullshit…it was so out of proportion.”

Footage from the Channel 10 broadcast and CCTV was broadcast on the ground, showing Mr. Sieben holding his right hand in the air twice for a period of four to five seconds.

Mr Gasparovic’s interview, which was played in court on Monday afternoon, showed him telling police there was “nothing wrong” when he raised his hand.

He told Sergeant Turner that he had “nothing against” the Jewish people.

Nikola Marko Gasparovic (pictured outside the court) told police there was

Nikola Marko Gasparovic (pictured outside court) told police there was ‘nothing wrong’ with him raising his hand during the match, court heard

Mr Gasparovic said he was “proud” to be Croatian and left the football match happy, but was shocked when he saw a photo of himself in the media the next day.

Kristy Campion, a lecturer in terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University, told the court that a right-handed salute was not automatically linked to Nazism.

Dr Campion told the court that history showed that Croatians only started using the salute after the Second World War and their collaboration with Germany.

The three men do not know each other, with the court earlier saying they had been charged under NSW’s “new” laws.

Police prosecutor Jarrod Imlay told the court that Mr Lisica wore military camouflage, while Mr Gasparovic carried a Nazi flag dating from the Second World War.

Meanwhile, Mr Sieben wore a red and white jersey and the Croatian flag hung like a cape around his neck.

Australian Cup Final – Sydney United 58 FC v Macarthur FC

Australian Cup Final – Sydney United 58 FC v Macarthur FC

The three men were questioned before being charged with knowingly displaying, by a public act, a Nazi symbol without reasonable excuse.

This is the first time that a person has been charged with this offense.

Anyone found guilty of the offense of displaying a Nazi symbol without excuse faces a maximum penalty of 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $11,000.

The key question at the hearing will be whether the salute constitutes a Nazi symbol, since it is not defined in the law.

“It will be for Your Honor to determine beyond a reasonable doubt whether the defendant’s actions constitute a Nazi symbol,” Imlay said.

Ms. Boulos will have to determine whether the elements of the prosecution were satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt and whether the men “knowingly” behaved in a particular way.

The hearing continues.

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