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Employees from Feni Factory Protest in Front of Court

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Employees in Feni are protesting with banners in front of the court in Veles, where the plan for reorganization of the plant is being reviewed. Protesters, holding up banners which read “End to bankruptcy,” “Don’t take away my bread” and “Life for Feni,” are demanding that a final decision be made at today’s hearing to end the bankruptcy proceedings.

“The bankruptcy procedures are taking too long. We were here in May, in July and now again in November. We are here to once again give support to ending our agony. Everything is crystal clear. We do our job and get paid, we produce, the creditors are paid, so we do not understand why someone is playing with our lives. We demand from the court and all competent institutions that this be our last coming and the end of the bankruptcy. We are people, not figures on paper and no one can play with us and our families, we are here and we will always be ready to fight for Feni and for our future,” said Mile Gjorgjiev, the president of Feni’s trade union.

Today, the court in Veles is deciding again on the plan to reorganize Feni, after the Court of Appeals accepted a complaint from part of the creditors to return it for reconsideration.

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Macedonia

HC: Hate crimes reach record high in 2018, negative trend continues this year

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Macedonian Helsinki Committee registered 508 hate incidents from 2013 to 2018, the Committee said at a press conference Monday on the occasion of European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime, July 22.

At the press conference today, the NGO presented its annual report for 2018.

In 2018, violent manifestations of intolerance continued to take place across the country. The report notes that last year hate incidents reached an all-time high (123). Such a negative trend continued in 2019, i.e. a total of 109 cases have been reported so far this year.

The number of ethnically-motivated incidents is in rise, reaching 64 percent of all incidents registered. Almost all acts involve members of Macedonian and Albanian ethnic community. Most concerning is the fact that such incidents were carried out by minors/youths.

Such acts, although targeting individuals, affected entire communities and instilled fear among victims and members of their communities.

Elsewhere in Europe, Action Day – in Support of Victims of Hate Crime – 22 July, aims to mobilize young people to speak up and take action against hate crime, as well as show solidarity and support for the victims of hate crime. The Action Days mobilize the national campaigns and European partners of the No Hate Speech Movement in joint activities on specific forms or targets of hate speech. Each Action Day has a programme of activities prepared in co-operation with the national campaign co-ordinators, online activists and campaign partners.

 

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Macedonia

Sead Kocan loses bid to delay prison sentence

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The criminal court has rejected a bid by local businessman Seat Kocan to delay his 4.8-year  prison term and says Kocan must surrender as scheduled. This was a second consecutive rejection related to starting date for the term of imprisonment.

Kocan, who was to report this month (July 17) to begin serving his sentence, was not granted a delay before he must surrender to the authorities.

Kocan’s lawyers requested the delay, saying he needed to undergo intensive therapy under the monitoring of his physician. But the court turned down the appeal as ungrounded.

Defense team may formally challenge the decision before the Appeals Chamber/Trial Chamber. After the appeals time ends, Kocan must report to begin serving a 4.8-year prison sentence.

Kocan was found guilty of tender fraud. He won a EUR17 million contract to mine coal upon handing fake documents. His bid was deliberately adjusted to comply with bidding terms.

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Macedonia

SDSM: By rejecting Ruskoska-related proposal, Mickoski seeks alibi to reject new law

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“The alleged disapproval with the idea that organized-crime prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska takes over the helm of the special prosecutor’s office means one thing only: VMRO-DPMNE is trying to secure an alibi to hinder the passage of the new bill,” the ruling Social Democrats (SDSM) said in a press release commenting the opposition VMRO-DPMNE’s stance.

The ruling party deems that Hristijan Mickoski’s sole goal is to harbor Nikola Gruevski’s wrongdoing.

“VMRO-DPMNE”s amendments to the previous bill on public prosecution had suggested a merger between Special Prosecutor’s Office (SJO) and Public Attorney Office (OJO). There was no  amendment seeking cessation of Ruskoska’s tenure. How come that they changed their mind? Earlier, a simple continuation of tenure was ok for them, but now they seem adamantly opposed.  Apparently they are seeking an alibi for impending refusal of a new law,” SDSM said in a press release.

“The Council of Public Prosecutors is authorized to pick prosecutors, and the bill envisages merger, hence, it is logical to extend the mandate of a prosecutor who is already holding this position.”

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