Few hours after a court in Skopje ordered a 30-day detention of SJO chief Katica Janeva, prosecutor Vilma Ruskovska said she didn’t ask the court to remand Janeva in custody because she didn’t have enough evidence to charge her.
The outgoing head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SJO) initially was not a suspect in the high-profile extortion case, codenamed ‘Racket’ as there were no evidence indicating involvement, Ruskovska said. “If I had enough evidence that someone committed offence, they would have been taken in police custody,” she added.
“I didn’t ask the court to remand Janeva in custody. I deemed that my colleague should be given a chance to express her point of view, and that’s the reason I did not seek detention. The case is very much exposed in public. I just wanted to hear what she has to say as a witness. I would not require detention without sufficient evidence,” Ruskovska said after Janeva was brought to court for questioning by examining magistrate, a pre-trial investigation judge.
On Wednesday, police raided Janeva’s home and detained her as part of widening investigation into high-profile extortion ring. The authorities sought detention of the special prosecutor and head of SJO after she was named as a suspect in a high-profile corruption scandal.
Prosecutor Katica Janeva was formally accused Wednesday of abusing her authority and gaining substantial benefit in form of property. She had allegedly dropped corruption charges against a local businessman in exchange for payment.
Janeva denied any wrongdoing.
Janeva’s office – the Special Prosecutor’s Office or SJO – was set up 2015 as part of a crackdown on organized crime and corruption. SJO’s task is to investigate and prosecute criminal offences related to and arising from content of the illegally intercepted communication.
Zaev meets with Council of Ambassadors delegation
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met with a delegation of the newly-founded Council of Ambassadors, consisting of chairman Ljupco Arsovski, vice-chairman Muhamed Halili and Steering Board members Tihomir Ilievski, Nano Ruzin and Iljaz Sabriu.
The attendees welcomed the Government’s policies which paved the way to integration of North Macedonia into the Euro-Atlantic community. They all agreed that the Government is doing what’s necessary to put the country on the right track, and that successful integration is the genuine opportunity for the economic development of the country.
The prime ministers and the ambassadors council expressed hope that in October the EU Council will give North Macedonia a formal go-ahead with accession negotiations.
Car Free Day in Skopje, several streets close for traffic
Skopje will hold its Car Free Day on 20 September in a bid to show its commitment to clean and sustainable urban transport, as well as to promote walking and cycling for better city.
A bike-ride “Day Without Cars” parade will be held today starting at 11 am. The event, organized by the City of Skopje, is in the frames of the European Mobility Week 2019 – Walk with Us.
The event will draw awareness to the dangers of toxic air and encourage city dwellers to explore the capital without the use of a vehicle.
The aim is to encourage Skopje residents to reimagine their city as car-free, and get around by either walking or cycling.
Some streets in the capital will be affected by the temporary car-ban. Street closures will be enforced at 11 am. The traffic will be diverted throughout the course of bike parade.
The cycling route will start at “Ibni Pajko” park, then move on to Filip Vtori Makedonski Street, turning left to Goce Delcev Boulevard and VMRO Boulevard, then right on Partizanski Odredi Boulevard, 8 September Boulevard and right to the Ilinden Boulevard finishing at City Park (Skolka).
Elsewhere in Europe, September 16 saw the start of the 18th edition of European Mobility Week, the European Commission’s flagship campaign promoting clean and sustainable urban transport. Running from 16-22 September, almost 3,000 towns and cities from about 50 countries will join with their activities promoting safe walking and cycling with the call to action “Walk with us!”.
European Mobility Week culminates each year in the well-known Car-Free Day, when streets close for traffic and open for people.
Osmani heads to Poland for official visit
Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani headed to Poland on Friday for one-day official visit.
During the visit, Osmani will hold talks with Polish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Konrad Szymatski and with Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.
The talks will focus on the course of relations between the two countries with a main emphasis placed on North Macedonia’s European propsects and Poland’s support for opening EU accession talks ahead of an important decision in October.
Osmani’s visit to Warsaw is part of his tour of European capitals, just a few weeks before EU member states are due to decide at a summit in mid-October, whether to open talks with North Macedonia, as advised by the European Commission.
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