Judge Lidija Petrovska, who presides over the “Fortress 2” trial, removed the press from the courtroom so the content of an official letter the SPO received from the Ministry of Interior could be read. The letter was received upon the request for declassification of information and the use of classified information in the court hearing.
All seven defendants were present at the court hearing, the former chief of the Fifth Estate, Goran Grujovski and another 6 individuals who are accused of destroying documentation related to the systems for illegal surveillance.
SPO prosecutor, Lenche Ristovska began reading the official letter, when Grujovski’s attorney, Nikola Dodevski, objected and said that the letter might contain classified information and asked that the public be removed from the courtroom.
SPO prosecutor, Lenche Ristovska reacted to the objection, and said that it wasn’t necessary to remove the press, but Judge Petrovska, despite Ristovska’s remark, acted upon Dodevski’s objection and asked the journalists to leave the courtroom. She added that the court will have to determine behind closed doors who has a security certificate and which data is classified and which is not.
Upon journalists’ reaction, Judge Petrovska stated which article from the Law of Criminal Procedure she had based her decision to remove the public from the courtroom, Petrovska added that it was regulated in Article 347.
Cameramen and photojournalists weren’t allowed to record and photograph prosecutors, the defendants or the attorneys.