If there had been any concrete evidence, trust me, I would have released ‘the bomb’ as I did releasing all the other (batches of illegally wiretapped conversations). But, it contains some serious indications and my duty, first and foremost as a citizen and back then as leader of the opposition, was to fully hand them over to the Special Public Prosecution (SPO), Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said when asked whether he had any evidence that could solve the murder of five people in 2012 near Smilkovci Lake.
Four men in their late teens and a fisherman were found dead near Smilkovci Lake in Skopje on 12 April 2012. Six men on terrorism charges were sentenced to life imprisonment. However, the men were acquitted in late 2017 by the Supreme Court. A retrial of the so called ‘Monster’ case is under way.
In a Q&A session in Parliament on Thursday, VMRO-DPMNE MP Zoran Ilioski accused Zaev of manipulating the feelings of the parents of murdered teenagers asking him whether he had evidence that could solve the murders.
Every evidence, Zaev stressed, has been handed over to the SPO and it has been even presented to a father of one of the killed teenagers.
“The father of one of the killed boys was given the chance to listen to one of the suspects speaking on the phone with ex-Gostivar mayor Nevzat Bejta and begging him for subsidies to be paid to him. He even saw the phone numbers that had been allegedly concealed. Why? Because I probably don’t have the right to publicly release such information, but I do have the right to show it to a grieving parent,” stressed Zaev adding that the parents of the teenagers deserved a fresh investigation into the case to be conducted because there had been other evidence that should be taken into consideration.
He called the purpose of the question ‘pure populism’.
Also, Zaev pledged the government would remain committed to being transparent. According to him, rule of law, fight against corruption had been improved since the appointment of the new government.
As PM Zaev was speaking in Parliament, some one hundred people held a protest in front of the Criminal Court in Skopje demanding that the court and all other relevant institutions should ‘find out the truth’ and punish the perpetrators of the murder. They called on PM Zaev to reveal all the information he had about the case.
The protest was allegedly organized through the social media.