Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s escape has put his former closest associates, Mile Janakieski and Kiril Bozinovski, in the Sutka prison facility. Unlike the richest Macedonian Orce Kamcev, who received decent accommodation in Sutka in one of the so-called “Hague rooms”, as we learn, Janakieski and Bozinovski are placed in ordinary cells. From what the Macedonian public heard in the published conversations, former Minister of Transport and Communications Janakieski was the chief executor of the ideas of his boss, and at the same level was the then Secretary of the Government, Kiril Bozinovski.
After Gruevski announced on his Facebook page yesterday that he was in Budapest and was applying for political asylum, the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office has expressly requested detention for Janakieski and Bozinovski because they got the information that they were getting ready to escape just like Gruevski. The prosecutor’s office, headed by Katica Janeva, has not yet received information that the former head of the UBK and the first cousin of the former prime minister, Saso Mijalkov is about to escape. Mijalkov is charged with the arrest of former Interior Minister Ljube Boskoski for one of the cases of the SPO for election irregularities, but the main indictment against the former head of the secret police is in the case Target – Fortress, ie for mass wiretapping. This case is still at the very beginning, and Mijalkov is not among the first defendants, yet the fifth. For now, his passport is in court and he has an obligation to report regularly. The prosecutor of the SPO, Lile Stefanova, and her boss say that if there is information that Mijalkov may escape, she will immediately seek custody, regardless of the fact that it seemed that Gruevski would not escape and yet ended up in Budapest.
“If there is even the slightest basis for suspicion that there is flight risk or influence on any of the witnesses, we will immediately file a request for detention, there are no untouchables in this country,” said prosecutor Stefanova. Although the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office assured the public that the time for Gruevski to serve his sentence would come, still his escape angered the public and opened up the suspicion that the government deliberately let Gruevski escape or he outsmarted it and showed that he was a few steps ahead of it.
However, none of the institutions participating in the security operation feels responsible. The Special Prosecutor’s Office says they have demanded custody of Gruevski when charges were brought against him for the Titanic case, but the proposal was rejected.
“When we filed the indictment, we applied for detention, and then the Criminal Council rejected our request with allegations that, although there is flight risk, the person can secure it by seizing the passport and calling the defendants once a week to report to court. In the meantime, the accused Gruevski demanded that reporting to court once a week be replaced reporting once a month, after which we gave an opinion that it should be rejected. The court accepted it, and now they report to court once a month. All these conditions were predispositions for such an escape. Whether it was a politician or a wealthy person, whether he was important in society, it does not matter at all in that moment, because everyone are in a situation like the defendants in the ‘Titanic’, where they are threatened with imprisonment for at least three, four or five years, the flight risk is great. Earlier, this flight risk was not taken sufficiently into consideration and this is what happened,” says Stefanova.
But the fact is that after the verdict, the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office did not ask for custody for Gruevski even though his subordinate after the verdict for the same case was immediately taken to Sutka. The prosecutor who led the Tank case, in which Gruevski was convicted, Stevco Donev, did not respond to our messages why he did not ask for custody of Gruevski after the verdict’s validity. His colleague Stefanova says he cannot say why then Gruevski was not put in custody because she did not lead the case. State Attorney General Ljubomir Joveski says that detention proved to be the most effective measure of security for such crime.
“The public prosecutor may ask the court to order detention, and custody may also be required after the pronouncement of the verdict. The court may, ex officio, request an opinion to have grounds for determining detention after the pronouncement of the first instance verdict,” Joveski said.
Neither the SPO nor the court took advantage of these opportunities, and prosecutor Stefanova said that the fault was in the institutions.
Wednesday was the day when Gruevski was supposed to be handed a decision at the Titanic hearing, and he he was supposed to go to prison. But the court failed to hand him the decision, Gruevski left for Budapest to his close friend – the prime minister of Hungary Viktor Orban. The SPO now asks that Gruevski be tried in absentia, and Janakieski and Bozinovski to be taken to the prison in Sutka. The trial was postponed to the end of the month.
Zaev protects Spasovski
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev sees no errors in the institutions’ work and does not require anybody’s accountability, although the court did look for Gruevski because it was a weekend, although police searched car trunks along with journalists, although the SPO, the institution that was formed to bring justice to Macedonia, did not request detention for him even after the verdict’s validity. Just like his predecessors, he says this government is honest and respects the Constitution and the laws.
“There have been no mistakes made by any institution. Except if the border services let him pass at the official border crossings and if the border police made some mistakes, we immediately ordered a warrant to investigate the whole procedure,” Zaev says. He strongly denies that he has any political agreement with Gruevski and re-assures that Gruevski will sooner or later return to Macedonia and serve his prison sentence.
– I’ll just say once again the kind of coward he is. He has always said that he was ready to go to prison for Macedonia, no matter what happened. That he, just to get everyone else out, is willing to take responsibility and the like. When the moment of taking responsibility has come, he fled the country trying to get new abolitions. That in itself confirms that he is guilty of what he was convicted. It will probably be confirmed in court that it was the court’s job. Macedonia only has a future if there is punishment. Punishment must be delivered and served. We will do everything within the limits of our competence to bring Gruevski back – Zaev said.
Frosina Fakova – Serafinovic