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Old 06-13-2018, 09:02 PM   #791
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http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...der-06-11-2018

Wiretaps Could Change Course of Macedonia Murder Trial

New witnesses and wiretapped conversations between former state officials are expected to shed fresh light on the killing of five ethnic Macedonians in 2012, for which six ethnic Albanians are being retried

As the retrial in the case that raised ethnic tensions in Macedonia continues on Tuesday at Skopje Criminal Court, the defence for six ethnic Albanians accused of the murders hopes that new witnesses and wiretap evidence expected to be presented to the court could exonerate the accused.

“We have new witnesses who were with the accused when the murders took place and with their testimonies, we will prove that they [the accused] could not have been at the scene of the murder,” defence lawyer Naser Raufi said.

In June 2014, Skopje Criminal Court found Alil Demiri, Afrim Ismailovic, Agim Ismailovic, Fejzi Aziri, Haki Aziri and Sami Ljuta, guilty of killing the five ethnic Macedonians in 2012 during Orthodox Easter.

They were given the longest possible sentence for terrorism offences, life in prison. They have since appealed against the verdict in higher courts.

The retrial started last month after the prosecution asked the Supreme Court in October 2017 for the life sentences to be quashed, citing new circumstances and questionable evidence in the case.

In March, Macedonia’s Special Prosecution, SJO, took jurisdiction over the case from the regular prosecution and said it will present new evidence to the court.

The defence which hopes that the content of wiretapped conversations between former top state officials - which the SJO is in charge of investigating for possible high-level crimes - will shed more light on the case and may even result in acquittal for the defendants.

The defence has long been insisting that the accused may have been scapegoats, and that the previous government led by the right-wing VMRO DPMNE party might have been involved, in an attempt to show that state institutions could clear up the case efficiently.

“Depending on the [wiretapped] conversations, we will propose our defence [to the court]. I don’t know which people are involved in the [wiretapped] conversations,” Raufi said.

He added that “depending on the content of the wiretaps, new witnesses may emerge”.

The SJO, set up in 2015 amid a deep political crisis in the country, was specifically tasked with investigating high-level crimes stemming from the content of the illegal wiretaps that were released by the then opposition Social Democrats.

The Social Democrats accused Nikola Gruevski, who was the prime minister and VMRO DPMNE leader at the time, of masterminding the massive wiretapping scheme.

Gruevski and his party, who were ousted from power in May last year, denied the allegation.

The corpses of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12, 2012. Their bodies had been lined up and appeared to have been executed.

The body of 45-year-old Borce Stevkovski was found a short distance away from the others.

News of the murder raised ethnic tensions, after groups of ethnic Macedonians staged protests, some of which turned violent, blaming the killings on members of the country’s large Albanian minority community.

The trial on Tuesday is expected to continue with testimonies from some of the eyewitnesses, while the SJO and the defence are expected to present new evidence at a later stage of the trial.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:15 AM   #792
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Just some updates from earlier in the year regarding this case.
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https://english.republika.mk/news/ma...ilkovsko-lake/

“Zaev is bigger monster than the killers, and Katica was part of political agreement”, say the parents of the murdered boys near Smilkovsko Lake

14.01.2020

The “Monster” case trial resumes on February 3, and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev was among the other witnesses proposed by prosecutors as an additional witness at today’s hearing on the five-fold murder near Smilkovsko Lake. The parents of the victims have repeatedly appealed to judge Ognen Stavrev Zaev to be on the witness list, to finally confront him and his lies. Aleksandar’s father, Goran Nakevski, in the summer asked Stavrev to arrest the then prime minister, because as a political opponent of DUI he presented concrete evidence of involvement of DUI officials in the brutal murder. The father accused Zaev of manipulating the evidence that could lead to the truth about “Monster” after the DUI coalition was concluded.

When we met with Zaev he said that he would give us 6 conversations state secret about 6 DUI officials. But later on they became 5. DUI was then their opponent. Zaev showed us the transcripts, pointed us to Nevzat Bejta and showed us the transcript of a conversation between Nevzat Bejta and defendant Fejzi Aziri. He did not fulfill his promise, for political reasons he did not give us those 5 state secrets, said Nakevski.

He went on, on behalf of all parents:

We demand that a search be conducted at the headquarters of SDSM. I claim that those transcripts are there. We demand that you confront us with Prime Minister Zaev, that we are not lying and inventing. Arrest him, we’ll wait for him!

In one of the rare interviews, Nakevski told “Alfa” that due to the political market, Zaev is a bigger monster than the killers. In 2015 he promised us one thing, now he does something else. We are also revolted that Katica Janeva promised us that this would be their first case, but silence from there as you see. We think that she is also in a political agreement with SDSM and DUI, said Nakevski in October 2017. The “Monster” case is being handled by Judge Ognen Stavrev, and the prosecution is represented by Fatime Fetai and Gavril Bubevski.
Quote:
https://english.republika.mk/news/ma...ies-for-votes/

Did Zaev manipulate with “Monster” case and human destinies for votes?

03.02.2020

The Criminal Court is holding a hearing in the “Monster” case, in which Zoran Zaev is to appear as a witness. At the request of the parents of the murdered boys at Smilkovsko Lake in April 2012, a video of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev answering MP’s questions in relation to the “Monster” case was played in the courtroom. You, Prime Minister Zaev, when in opposition you said to one of the parents of the killed children that you have tapped conversations that will clarify the case. Is this real evidence, or is it a talk of subsidies that one of the defendants should have received ?, asks MP Zoran Ilioski from VMRO-DPMNE in a 2017 video. The then Prime Minister Zaev, from the parliamentary rostrum, says:

If Zaev had concrete evidence, that evidence, bombs, would have been released until the end. The evidence contains serious indications and is, therefore, submitted to the prosecution. One of the parents heard conversations of defendant Fejzi Aziri talking to Mayor Nevzet Bejta and begging him for subsidies. He also saw those phones that were supposedly hidden. I was not allowed to publish them publicly but the parent was allowed to see them. All evidence has been submitted to the SPO, and there is additional evidence to be investigated.

The parents of the victims have repeatedly appealed to Judge Ognen Stavrev Zaev to be on the witness list, to finally confront him and his lies. Aleksandar’s father, Goran Nakevski, in the summer asked Stavrev to arrest the then prime minister, because as a political opponent of DUI he presented concrete evidence of involvement of DUI officials in the brutal murder. The father accused Zaev of manipulating the evidence that could lead to the truth about “Monster” after the DUI coalition was concluded. In one of the rare interviews, Nakevski told “Alfa” that because of this political bargaining, Zaev is a bigger monster than the killers.
Quote:
https://english.republika.mk/news/ma...d-over-to-spo/

Zaev testifies in “Monster” case: I did not get the full picture of the case from the bombs, so all the materials were handed over to SPO

03.02.2020

Former Prime Minister and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev testified Monday at the Skopje-based Criminal Court in the trial over the ‘Monster’ case, involving multiple murders at the Smilkovci Lake in 2012. Zaev said that all the materials that SDSM had in possession and which he had insight into as the party’s leader were handed over to the SPO. He said that the inspection of the materials shows that there is no complete continuity, ie the people who were employed by the Ministry of Interior could not always obtain copies of those materials and hand them over to the then opposition SDSM. Zaev confirmed that he had met several times with relatives of the killed boys who wanted to get more information from the “bombs”. At one of the meetings, some parents expressed doubts that the justice system was hiding information and evidence from them. He presented them with the audio material they requested, without giving them a copy. As to why not publishing the materials publicly, Zaev said that the only reason was that he did not think there was any completeness to create a complete picture, and therefore decided no to publish everything he had in possession but to hand it over to the SPO, so that they can use them to prove the truth about the “Monster” in the court.
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Old 01-29-2021, 09:35 AM   #793
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Nationalist chants in Skopje as Albanian protesters demand the release of suspected Islamist killers

Some of the protesters threw stones at the Macedonian police. They shouted "UCK" and "Shkiperia etnike" and demanded the release of the accused.

URLs:
https://english.republika.mk/news/ma...amist-killers/
https://republika.mk/vesti/makedonij...e-vo-monstrum/
https://republika.mk/vesti/crna-hron...po-policijata/
https://time.mk/c/9cdbe51a96/ne-sme-...-na-fetai.html

A large crowd of ethnic Albanians is marching on a protest through downtown Skopje today, chanting slogans in favor of the 2001 terrorist movement UCK/NLA, demanding the release of a group of Islamists suspected with the 2012 Good Friday massacre. Protesters also carried a map of Greater Albania and messages claiming that Albanians are original inhabitants of the Balkans, as opposed to Macedonians and others.

The protests began in Cair, a mainly Albanian neighborhood in the center of the city, after the Friday prayers, and the crowd continued to move toward the main courthouse and the office of state prosecutors. A retrial in Macedonia’s worst Islamist attack is nearing its end. The group of three killers and three suspected accomplices were all sentenced to life in prison, but the a retrial was ordered after now Prime Minister Zoran Zaev loudly insisted that he has wiretaps that will shed a new light on the case, and was accusing the then ruling VMRO-DPMNE party of staging the massacre. Zaev used these claims to increase his support among ethnic Albanian voters and parties, and it contributed to his power-grab in 2017. In 2020, after years of desperate please from the families of the killed boys to tell them what he knows, he admitted that he was bluffing all the time.

Four boys and a man were killed on the eve of Good Friday while relaxing near a pond north of Skopje, by the group whose apparent goal was to spark a religious war. Even a Zaev aligned prosecutor who is an ethnic Albanian, Fatime Fetai, acknowledged that there is no new evidence that would move the case in a different direction and request a repeat of the life sentences for the defendants. Closing arguments are due next week and in response, Albanian organizations and parties are pushing to have the defendants released.

VMRO-DPMNE spokesman Naum Stoilkovski said that the coming rise in ethnic tensions, evident today, is the fault of Zaev and his reckless lying that was meant to advance his political ends.

Zaev, don’t hide behind Fetai and other prosecutors. Come out before the people you publicly lied to and tell them the truth, Stoilkovski said.



Last edited by Carlin; 01-29-2021 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 02-27-2021, 07:35 AM   #794
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At least seven police officers were injured in violence that erupted in the capital Skopje as demonstrators protested against the murder convictions of five ethnic Albanians in a high-profile terrorism case.

Thousands of ethnic Albanians took to the streets of Skopje on Friday for a “protest for justice”, demanding freedom for the five ethnic Albanians who were sentenced to prison on Tuesday for the 2012 murders of five ethnic Macedonians.

The protest organised by the families and supporters of the convicted man started in Skopje’s Albanian-dominated municipality of Cair, with people shouting “Justice for Albanians” and calling politicians and the judiciary “crooks”.

They also carried banners calling for the resignation of prosecutors. One placard read: “Macedonia has corrupt courts and prosecutors.”

Violence broke out after a brief stand-off with armed riot police escalated who had cordoned off the boulevard leading towards the court buildings complex in central Skopje, which was the protestors’ intended destination.

URL:
https://balkaninsight.com/2021/02/26...error-verdict/

(A Greater Albanian map flag was waved at thr protest by Albanians)
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