Police in Albania and Montenegro confirm that Gruevski passed through their borders

Skopje, 16 November, 2018 - 15:42 (META) 

Yesterday, police in Albania and Montenegro released statements in numerous articles in the media that former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski went to Budapest via two countries. Two countries have confirmed that Gruevski left their territories on Sunday. Considering the fact that there were no flights to Budapest from Podgorica or Tivat, it is most likely that Gruevski left the country by land or sea, or flew to Budapest via Belgrade.

According to the Department of Borders and Migration of the State Police of Albania, “N.G. on 11.11.2018 at 19.11 hours, left the territory of Albania through the border crossing “Hani Hoti” and entered Montenegro as a passenger in a vehicle with the registration plates ‘CD1013A’, owned by the Hungarian Embassy in Tirana”.

Furthermore, Albanian police stated that at the time of Gruevski’s crossing, an arrest warrant or a note along the lines that Gruevski was a wanted individual, had not been issued.

“On November 13, 2018, at 19.35 hours, Interpol Skopje sent a copy of an international arrest warrant for the person in question, to Interpol Tirana,” said the State Police of Albania.

The Montenegrin Police Directorate said that Gruevski had left the country on the same day he entered, and the police had fully respected all legal procedures.

“Regarding the articles published in the media, as well as the media interest on this matter, which refers to the former Prime Minister of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski entered Montenegro on November 11, 2018. In the interest of the facts, we are informing you of the following : Nikola Gruevski entered Montenegro on the day mentioned and departed from Montenegro on the same day. Montenegrin police have fully respected all legal procedures in this case, “reads a statement released by Montenegrin police.

Unlike their counterparts in Albania, Montenegrin police did not report where and at what much time Gruevski left the country.

Bearing in mind that there were no flights to Budapest from airports in Podgorica and Tivat, it is most likely Gruevski left the country by land or sea, or flew to Budapest via Belgrade, Istanbul or Moscow. So far there have been no reactions from the governments and interior ministries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

Zaev: There is no political deal with Gruevski, he will return and serve his sentence

Skopje, 14 November, 2018 - 17:14 (META) 

I strongly and categorically reject all speculation about any political deal with Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said today, while answering journalist’s questions after a press conference with the Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat.

He said that he was convinced that Gruevski would return and serve his prison sentence.

“There were many skeptics who said they would never see politicians brought before a court, but it happened. There were many skeptics who said there would be no court verdicts – this happened. So far, the rule of law has been reaffirmed to the maximum and the independence of judicial institutions to the maximum, through a completely transparent process. I am convinced that time will show, Gruevski will return and serve his sentence, and of course he will be brought before the court, to defend himself, and it’s up to the system to prove that he is guilty of other crimes,” the prime minister said.

Asked if the police had acted improperly, Zaev said that the everything was handled strictly within the law.

Macedonia “rife” with hate speech with cases rarely reaching court

Skopje, 29 October, 2018 - 15:01 (META) 

Since the new legislative amendments to the Criminal Code for Hate Speech came into force in February 2014, the Skopje Criminal Court has only charged two individuals with a fine over hate speech.

The number of fines is very small in comparison to the 341 cases recorded on the digital platform “Report and Resist Hate Speech” in the same period, while police filed criminal charges in just 24 cases, reports Portalb.mk.

Given the large number of cases reported on the civilian digital platform for reporting hate speech, police are investigating hate speech at a very slow pace, while the judiciary does not punish it. Moreover, in Macedonia, especially under VMRO-DPMNE’s rule, according to a analysis by Portalbmk, hate speech is emphatic, and there were also blatant cases when certain individuals and groups publicly used hate speech, and at the same time it was not sanctioned by law enforcement agencies.

According to data provided by the news portal, during the period 2014-2018, the Criminal Court only charged two individuals and issued a fine in 2017.

In the same period, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 22 other cases of hate speech, however, none of them reached the Criminal Court.

The court convicted the two individuals under Article 181 of the Criminal Code, which envisages a fine or imprisonment of up to three years for mocking a foreign state or its top state officials.

VMRO-DPMNE: To cover up scandals, MoI lied about terrorists arrests

Skopje, 8 August, 2018 - 16:33 (META) 

The opposition, VMRO-DPMNE, says that Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski and SDSM are an embarrassment to Macedonia and are destroying the country’s reputation with lies and manipulation. They say yesterday they lied that the MoI arrested seven Macedonian citizens who fought with terrorists in Syria, and actually it was only a matter of making the arrest.

“To cover up scandals, abuses and crimes Zaev’s friends are caught up in, the Interior Ministry was yesterday again misused to misinform the public with a deliberate massive police action against terrorists and radicals. The truth is that the MoI was lying! “, VMRO-DPMNE said, claiming that because of the lie, Spasovski ha been in hiding yesterday, and the Ministry of Interior would not provide additional information as to when and where the radicals had been detained.

The opposition party says it was a case of repatriation, that is, the police action at the Skopje airport by radicals and arrested by the international coalition.

“The truth was revealed today by our partners in the Pentagon who pointed out that by July, Syrian Democratic Forces had captured 600 mercenaries from more than 40 countries. According to the international media, yesterday, Macedonian police were not involved in any action, only the repatriation of its citizens i.e. the transfer of detained Macedonian citizens at Skopje airport,” says the party.

Selmani: Police must learn that journalists are not the enemy

Skopje, 12 June, 2018 - 16:14 (META) 

The police must learn that journalists reporting from protests are not the enemy, but are also professionals on official duty, who need to be protected if attacked by participants at protests. They deserve protection, in accordance with domestic and international law, said the President of the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), Naser Selmani, at a workshop in Skopje for improving the security of journalists during critical events, organized by AJM, MoI, and with support the OSCE.

“We are unanimous that violence against media workers is an unacceptable practice for a democratic country. As an important element in the functioning of democratic processes, they have the right to work in an environment free from threats and intimidation. Their mission to inform citizens and requests for reports from any government, will not be fulfilled while they work in conditions of fear and insecurity”, said Selmani.

The workshop is part of efforts to improve co-operation between journalists and the police, after the MoI and AJM signed a memorandum of cooperation last December.

Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski said that there must be zero tolerance concerning attacks on journalists.

“Unfortunately, in the last few years we have witnessed numerous attacks and intimidation towards journalists. There is no justification for such attacks. The government’s attitude is clear and we have said it repeatedly – zero tolerance for any attempt to jeopardize freedom of speech and expression”, said Spasovski.

At the opening of the event, Jeff Goldstein, deputy head of the OSCE mission, said that violence against journalists is not just verbal and physical attacks, but also consists of unlawful detentions, destruction of property, arbitrary raids on editorial offices or in the home of journalists, hate speech, attacks via social networks and threats of sexual assault on female journalists.

140.000 people attended the “Macedonia is Greek” protest, part of them clashed with anarchists

Athens, 4 February, 2018 - 19:13 (META) 

The Greek police announced that during the “Macedonia is Greek” protest, that is taking place in the center of Athens, 140.000 people attended the protest and they arrived there from all corners of Greece with 283 buses, reports the Macedonian information agency (MIA).

Parallel to the protest at the Syntagma square, only 800 meters away, anarchistic and antifascist organizations have organized a contra-protest which led to clashes, and the police reacted with teargas.

At the protest, the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, various metropolitan bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church and the organizers addressed the protestors.

Theodorakis criticized the Greek government and said that Macedonia is Greek and has asked for a referendum.

“If a Greek government is even considering to sign the approval for a composite name, there is no other choice but to ask the Greek nation about it. I call upon the MPs who have the right to call for a referendum” said Theodorakis.

The house of the Greek composer was sprayed with a red color before he went to attend the protest.

Memeti: Police violated the right to MPs immunity while taking them into custody

Skopje, 28 December, 2017 - 20:32 (META) 

The police violated the right to MPs immunity and the presumption of innocence when the three MPs were detained on November 28th, this year, as part of the 36 people detained who are suspects in the violence in Parliament on 27 April, the Ombudsman found.

According to the Ombudsman, the police in this case did not comply with the Rule book on the manner and performance of police matters.

At today’s briefing with journalists, the Ombudsman Ixhet Memeti informed that this situation was confirmed after a complaint was received from the Parliamentary Group of VMRO-DPMNE and the Coalition “For a Better Macedonia”.

Memeti said that a recommendation had been submitted to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Oliver Spasovski, where they requested to conduct a full inquiry for examining the manner in which the police officers acted on November 28th, 2017, and to establish responsibility and to sanction the violators of the rights of the MPs .

The Ombudsman additionally believes that it is also necessary to ask the question, why did the court issue an order for the apprehension and search of individuals who enjoy immunity, without it being previously taken away.

Baily: There must be responsibility for April 27th, but also the presumption of innocence

Skopje, 30 November, 2017 - 12:09 (META) 

Today, the US Ambassador to the country, Jess Baily, said that the US Embassy is closely following events related to the incident in Parliament which occurred on April 27th, and that the police, prosecution and justice systems must act transparently, while respecting the highest standards in carrying out this process .

“The police, the prosecution and the justice system must proceed transparently, with full respect for the highest standards of due process. The United States and the European Union have stressed that those responsible for April 27th must be held responsible for the events, but the process must also respect the presumption of innocence”, said Baily.

He emphasized that Parliament, in accordance with its role, is conducting important talks on the topic today.

“It’s Parliament’s role to talk about democratic governance,” pointed out the US ambassador, after today’s meeting between Parliament Speaker, Talat Xhaferi and Laura Cooper, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the United States.

When asked whether Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Hoyt Brian Yee will be the new ambassador to Macedonia, Baily said that he is currently the US Ambassador and that, as far as he knows, the White House has not nominated anyone for this position so far.

“The one body that can tell you whether this is true or not is the White House”, said Ambassador Baily.

USA: Greater transparency and the respect of legal procedures is needed

Skopje, 29 November, 2017 - 16:20 (META) 

The US Embassy in Macedonia called for greater transparency and monitoring of the procedures to a shed light on what happened during the events in Parliament on April 27th .

“We are following the news of the arrests. We urge police and prosecutors to pursue these cases with absolute transparency and the highest respect for due process. While the perpetrators of the April 27 attacks must be held accountable for their actions, all individuals have the right of presumption of innocence” stated the US Embassy for Meta news agency when they were asked to comment on yesterday’s detainment of 36 people including MPs, regarding the violent attacks that took place in Parliament.

Regarding information that the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Hoyt Bryan Yee will be the new US Ambassador of this country, the Embassy responded that they still don’t know who will be the next ambassador.

“President Trump has not nominated anyone to be the next US Ambassador to Macedonia. When he does, it will be announced publicly,” reads the statement from the US Embassy.

Selmani: The government wants to act like an editor in chief with the media

Skopje, 17 November, 2017 - 16:57 (META) 

For the Association of the Journalists of Macedonia (AJM), the idea where the Government will be regulating the media content is absolutely unacceptable, stressed the President of AJN, Naser Selmani, during the meeting with OSCE’s new General Secretary Thomas Greminger, who is visiting the country.

“it is contrary to the best practices in the European democracies,” said Selmani and he stressed that imposing fines about the ways journalists report shows that the Government wants to act as an editor in chief with the media.

According to Selmani, the Government hasn’t shown any desire for a real debate with arguments about the model od financing the Macedonian Radio Television.”

“If the Government knows in advance that 0,7% of the state budget will have to be given to MRT then what would be the point of the debate about the law,” asked Selmani, as was stated in the announcement of the meeting.