Macedonia Files Charges Over Skopje Killings

The organized crime prosecutor has filed charges against the six suspects for the five-fold murder on April 12 near Skopje.After six months of investigation, the organized crime prosecutor has filed criminal charges against the six men suspected of direct involvement in the murder of four youths and one adult near Skopje on April 12.

A court has ruled that the four suspects currently in custody will remain behind bars until the trial starts.

“The organized crime and corruption public prosecutor found enough firm evidence to prove before the court that the suspects committed the crimes for which they are being prosecuted,” a media statement said.

The five-page criminal charge states that the suspects “arrived by car late in the evening on April 12 and, for no other reason, intending to frighten the population, shot four boys and then an adult male who, while fishing, witnessed the murder”.

The six accused are Alil Demiri and Afrim Ismailov, who are still on the run, as well as Agim Ismailovik, Fejzi Aziri and Rami Sejdi who are in custody. They are accused of terrorism.

Haki Haziri, the driver who took the others to the crime scene, is accused of assisting in the murder. He was first a protected witness, but was later stripped of this status at his own request.

In his statement to a judge, published by Balkan Insight in May, Haziri admitted having “taken the accused to the lake but had no idea that they were about to shoot and kill”.

He said that this event had disturbed him so much that he lost 20kg from worrying. He is related to two of the suspects.

The victims were Aleksandar Nakjovski, Cvetanco Acevski, Kire Trickovski and Filip Slavevski, all aged 20, and Borce Stefkovski, aged 46. They were fishing on the banks of a lake when they were shot dead.

After filing the charges, a council of three judges prolonged the custody of the four accused until the beginning of the trial, expected by the end of November.

The murder investigation ended with a reconstruction of the crime, which was done in front of the accused, the protected witness, the lawyers, the judge and the prosecutor.

The prosecutor suggested the inclusion of three other witnesses that are supposed to have additional information on the murder.

The lawyer for the accused said he objected to this.

“None of the witnesses suggested by the prosecutor was an eye witness [to the crime],” Naser Raufi, the lawyer for the accused, said. He added that he would file a complaint about the contents of the charges.

On October 19 the protected witness, unknown to the accused and labeled as E1, was questioned for almost four hours. A video conference with his voice altered was shown in the court where he explained what he saw and knows about the murders.

His testimony is seen as the main evidence in the case, as no key evidence or murder weapon has been found and two suspects are out of range, believed to be hiding in Kosovo.

The accused were brought from prison in Bitola to the court in Skopje, where they questioned the protected witness, judge Vladimir Tufegdzik, who is leading the investigation, said.

“The [use of the] protected witness’s testimony is a result of the prosecutor’s lack of evidence,” lawyer Naser Raufi said.

Check Also

Can Turkey help in Ukraine crisis?

Moscow is likely to welcome a Turkish mediation effort if it serves to restrain Ukraine …