At least 11 security guards in the Suto Orizari prison made a mistake in the operation, which led to the incident in which former ministers Spiro Ristovski and Mile Janakieski were attacked. Disciplinary proceedings have been brought against them. The number of employees in the popular Sutka prison that did not do their job properly is still not final. Prison warden Gjoko Kotevski has submitted his resignation to the government, but the Government responded that he will have to stay in office at least until May 5, because no new managers can be appointed in the period between scheduling and finalizing of the presidential election.
This is mainly the epilogue from the report of the prison administration after Thursday’s incidents in the prison yard, which was sent to the Directorate for Execution of Sanctions and the Ministry of Justice.
“We received the report on Monday evening, we had our observations of the developments as well, therefore today we sent recommendations to the prison administration in order to prevent such incidents in the future. These are, however, only recommendations and they are not obliged to accept them,” said Jovica Stojanovic, director of the Sanctions Directorate in a statement for Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent Daily Newspaper.
It was found that the standard protocols have not been complied with, there have been oversights in taking the detainees on their daily walk, there was no real security assessment of the possibility of a conflict between the opposing individuals and groups, and a regular search of the prison cells was not carried out, therefore prisoners were able to get supplies of illicit items, suitable for physical attacks.
A number of irregularities and non-compliance with the security protocols and working rules of the prison administration were also established by the Ombudsman’s Office.
“I cannot accept that there is no security in that one hour when it is time for the prisoners’ walk in the yard, so that after the first incident, another one occurred 45 minutes later, it does not matter whose fault it was. It shows that someone was not doing their job,” said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
With the new protocol that has already entered into force, more guards have been activated, the groups’ paths have been separated and the chance of meeting convicts for the Kumanovo events is generally lower, as well as Ristovski, having in mind that Janakieski was released to house arrest, as well as among other hostile companies.
The Ombudsman warns that unskilled and party staff are placed in managerial positions in the penitentiary institutions, and among the prison population there are divisions of privileged and unprivileged on the basis of material, social, national, religious, party and other affiliation. The provision of privileges is also made for money, with prison staff being involved.
In the last Ombudsman’s report on the situation in the prisons, there were also notes about the poor accommodation conditions, the terrible health treatment, and a number of other shortcomings that cannot be corrected for years and decades.
The attack on Janakieski and Ristovski occurred on Thursday, just one day after they were detained on suspicion of organizing the bloody events in the Parliament on April 27, 2017. According to the prison administration, around 1 pm Ristovski at first got into a verbal fight, and then was physically attacked by a convict, after which the situation settled down. Forty-five minutes later, Janakieski entered into a verbal, and then in a physical conflict with another convict. He sought medical assistance at the September 8 hospital, where doctors found no serious injuries, and was later transferred to house arrest. As the attackers, members of the terrorist group sentenced to long-term sentences for two-day bloody clashes in Kumanovo in 2015 have appeared via social media. They threatened that all the officials of VMRO-DPMNE and DUI will have to deal with the same as Janakieski and Ristovski.
Condemnations of the attacks came from all sides, including the European Union, the European People’s Parties, the ruling and opposition parties, President Gjorge Ivanov, etc.