Former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov, four MPs, opera singer Igor Durlovski, social media influencer Bogdan Ilievski, director Boris Damovski, actor Vlado Jovanovski, Aleksandar Vasilevski – Ninja, were seated on the defendant’s bench today.
The accused, along with twenty other people, will be tried for the violent parliament storming that took place on April 27 last year (2017) when members of parliament, journalists and members of the security were assaulted and injured.
The trial takes place in the new Criminal Court building, where thirty defendants with their lawyers, families of defendants and journalists will be present. The case will be led by Judge Dobrila Kacarska, who sentenced former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to two years in prison for the Tank case, a.k.a. the purchase of the luxury Mercedes. Judge Kacarska has already scheduled 37 other terms for the main hearing.
The prosecution has filed an indictment against 30 people after almost one year since the storming the Assembly, The indictment in court will be led by the prosecutor from organized crime and corruption, Vilma Ruskovska.
An indictment has been filed against persons for whom the prosecution provided evidence that they participated in the incrusion, but the contracting authority and the organizer have not yet been revealed. At a press conference where prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski announced that an indictment has been filed, he did not disclose who actually ordered the so-called ‘Bloody Thursday’, but said the investigation had determined that the incursion included unknown persons.
The prosecution says that the case is still in pre-trial procedure.
“All necessary action has been taken to establish the facts. According to the law, the actions in the pre-trial procedure are confidential, and at the moment we are not at liberty to share details,” the prosecution said.
Aleksandar Vasilevski-Ninja’s lawyer, Oliver Vuksanovic, says that their defense is ready and that they expect the court to make a reasonable decision.
“The defense has been prepared, we will bring it to the main hearing and we will leave the court on the basis of all the proposed evidence, both from the prosecution and the defense, to bring a reasonable and lawful decision,” Vuksanovic says.
The prosecution, which was then under the leadership of Marko Zvrlevski, first filed lawsuits for complicity. The first group was sentenced to probation, but then the Appeal court changed these verdicts to prison sentences.
Then, the prosecution continued the investigation under the leadership of the new prosecutor.
The indictment included 32 people, after Aleksandar Vasilevski – Ninja and Nikola Mitrevski – Koljo turned themselves in, and their names were added to the already existing indictment against thirty people. Most are indicted for terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security, and two men for complicity. Only Dejan Davidovski – Deso still at large.
Eleven (11) of the accused are in custody, 13 are in house arrest, and eight have precautionary measures and guarantees.
According to the indictment, Cavkov, as the holder of the “gold” command, although he was constantly receiving reports that the lives of journalists and lawmakers in Parliament were threatened, he and two other holders of the “silver” command did not issue orders for deploying additional and special police forces for internal and external security of the Assembly, did not issue an evacuation order and enabled the thugs to enter the Assembly. Chavkov was detained, but with a guarantee worth 600,000 euros in real estate, he was released to defend himself.
Vasilevski’s brother, who worked as security guard of the then prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, called Ninja from Vienna and informed him to start the operation. He and several other defendants mobilized the membership from Skopje and other cities for violent incursion into the Parliament.
Ten defendants organized a larger group of people to hand out balaclavas and, along with them, they headed for the Assembly.
The organizers of the “For Macedonia” movement, Bogdan Ilievski, Vlado Jovanovski, Boris Damovski and Igor Durlovski are charged with calling and bringing the assembled citizens to the Assembly, and with their speeches fueled the intolerance of the gathered citizens. They are now now in kitchens, except the opera singer Durlovski.
Citizens, together with the group of men wearing balaclavas, jumped over the protective fence around the Parliament and tried violently to open the doors by pushing, punching and breaking.
At the same time, one of the deputies Ljuben Arnaudov, Krsto Mukoski, Saso Vasilevski, Johan Tarculovski and Ljupco Dimovski, along with three security officials from the Parliament opened two entrance doors, removing the metal protected beams and the citizens plunged inside the Assembly.
The Assembly’s security directed the enraged citizens towards the hall and the press center in the Assembly.
Then started throwing of objects, tripods from the cameras and everything that these violent men could grab. All of this was broadcast live on television. The citizens saw the bloody face of then-opposition leader Zoran Zaev, heard information about the beating of Zijadin Sela and heard that journalists could not leave the Parliament. One person pointed a handgun towards Zaev, who was protected by his security officers.
Many MPs and journalists were injured in this incident, but Sela was saved from certain death. The first verdicts for the attack on Sela has already been brought in, but the prosecution is expected to file another indictment against the men who violently attacked Sela.
The storming was preceded by a number of protests against the Tirana platform, organized by the For United Macedonia initiative, which culminated on Thursday, April 27, 2017, a day that will be remembered in the collective memory as the ‘Bloody Thursday’…. / IBNA
Frosina Fakova Serafinovic