The start of the process of the “Putsch” affair that was supposed to start today, was cancelled because the fourth defendant Zoran Zaev, the leader of SDSM, did not show up in the courtroom. The other defendants did appear. The first defendant Zoran Verushevski and Gjorgji Lazarevski were brought in from the prison in Skopje where they are in custody. Sonja Verushevska and Branko Palifrov are in home arrest.
The Court’s council presided by judge Ljubinka Bashevska claimed that Zaev has not found it necessary to excuse his absence and because of that the requirements for the start of the process have not been fulfilled. Also, the court states that the Primary Court in Strumica had sent a report notifying the court in Skopje that Zaev did not respond to three summons, nor he offered a reason for his absence. On this account, the court had tried to contact him, unsuccessfully. The defendant’s side told the court that Mr. Zaev is on vacation.
The court also informed that it sent a summons to Mr. Zaev yesterday, August 4, 2015, in which he is called to appear in the court in Strumica. Mr. Zaev has not responded.
Following the cancellation of today’s main hearing, the court proposed a date when to resume the process. The judge asked the next hearing to begin at the end of August, however the defense requested that date to be September 3. In this context the defense’s attorney Filip Medarski, said more time must be provided because citing as a reason the Agreement in Przhino. According to the agreement the case against Zaev will be taken over by a special prosecutor. To this the judge replied that she is not bound by political agreements, but by the law and because of that, the date that was set must be respected because two of the defendants are already in custody. Following this argument, the judge asked the defendants Verushevski and Lazarevski if they have objections to the date of the main investigation. Their response was that they have no objections and that they agree to that. The court’s council then decided to conduct the main investigation will take place on September 7.
The court also brought the decision to send Zoran Zaev a new summon.
The defense’s lawyers did not want to comment for the media following the hearing.