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Mijalkov’s lawyer seeks special prosecutor in massive wiretap case

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The lawyer of former intelligence chief Sasho Mijalkov has requested a delay of the hearing in the massive wiretap case “Target-Tvrdina”. He also sought termination of the trial, citing absence of competent prosecutor.

Ljupco Svrgovski, the defense lawyer of the former head of Security & Counterintelligence Directorate (UBK), Sasho Mijalkov, told the court Monday that only the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SJO) might investigate and prosecute criminal offences related to and arising from the content of the illegally intercepted communication.

“SJO is the sole institution authorized to prosecute criminal offenses arising from the content of the illegal wiretap operation,” Svrgovski said on Monday at the start of the hearing. He made it clear that SJO is the sole authorized prosecutor in the case that he represents,” defense lawyer told the court.

“A special prosecutor should have been present in the courtroom today. A public prosecutor with a general or lower jurisdiction may not represent cases of expanded jurisdiction,” he added.

Earlier, Skopje District Attorney Artan Ajro presented to the court a letter of attorney (power of attorney granted by the State Prosecutor – a legal document giving him the power to act for special prosecutor in the case – together with colleagues Lence Ristoska and Trajce Pelivanov, who were not present in the courtroom.

Zoran Verushevski, a former intelligence chief and incumbent security advisor of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, appeared in the criminal court this morning to testify in the case. The previous hearing was adjourned due to technicalities related to delivery of court summons.

The indictment alleges that scores of former government officials, including the then counterintelligence chief Sasho Mijalkov, the then-minister of Interior Gordana Jankulovska had teamed up to conduct a warrantless wiretapping of citizens, mainly political opponents, journalists…the country’s biggest illegal wiretap operation. From 2008 to 2015, a total of 4.286 phone numbers had been wiretapped unlawfully.

In 2017, the SJO filed charges against 94 people, including former high government officials, over their involvement in alleged crimes revealed in tapes that emerged during a surveillance scandal that brought a government down.

The country was thrown into political turmoil in 2015, when opposition parties accused former prime minister Nikola Gruevski and his counter-intelligence chief of orchestrating the wiretapping of more than 20,000 people. The crisis prompted the EU to broker an agreement in which parties agreed to hold early elections and establish the office of the special prosecutor to investigate the content of the wiretaps.

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Macedonia

Arrest warrant issued for Spasov

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Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.

Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.

The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.

The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.

The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.

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Macedonia

Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today

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The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.

Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.

In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.

US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer  as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans.  In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

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Macedonia

Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron

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We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.

“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.

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