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Human rights activists are crying foul after a woman miscarries while being held in custody as part of the high profile investigation against the A1 TV boss Velija Ramkovski and his associates.
The woman, who has been held in detention for over 40 days in the Shutka detention facility near Skopje, was rushed to hospital in the afternoon hours on Wednesday.
“A medical team determined that she had a spontaneous miscarriage in the sixth or seventh week of pregnancy,” Dr Tanja Gozarovska from the Skopje gynecology clinic, who treated the woman, told media.
The woman is still in the clinic and she is in good overall health, doctors said on Thursday.
“The authorities have failed in this case and someone should be held responsible,” Pavlina Zefic, legal advisor at Macedonia's Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, told Balkan Insight.
She asked that the investigative judge that allowed the woman to stay in detention and the head of the Skopje court assume responsibility for the situation, explaining that the law requires that they monitor the state of detainees.
“They knew that there was a pregnant woman in detention that had complications and was taken to hospital several times. Detention is the most extreme measure and there are alternatives that could have been granted to this person,” Zefic said.
Lidija Nedelkova, the head of the penal court that is handling the case, argued that the court is not to blame for the miscarriage.
“After we found out that she was pregnant, we were considering the possibility of releasing her to home detention. We even sent her to see a medic and the only recommendation we got was that she should spend time in bed,” Nedelkova told local Net Press news agency.
Nedelkova said that the defence lawyers, by filing constant formal complaints, made the administrative aspects of the case more complicated and postponed the court’s decision to send the pregnant woman to house arrest. She admitted that otherwise this procedure is relatively short.
Amid the uproar following the woman's miscarriage, investigative judge Vladimir Tufegdzic ruled on Thursday afternoon that she could be released to house arrest.
In late December, the police arrested the businessman and media mogul Velija Ramkovski and 13 of his close associates under suspicion that they committed financial crimes.
After spending 30 days in custody, on January 24 the court extended the detention for all the suspects, despite appeals from the defense warning that there are pregnant women and people with poor health among those detained.
Zefic from the Helsinki Committee said that their team had not been not allowed to visit the detainees in this case since early January to monitor their condition.
Meanwhile, A1 TV, Macedonia's most popular station, has begun broadcasting live from the courtyard in front of the government building in protest at the freezing of its account, which threatens to force the station to shut down.
The pro-opposition TV accuses the government, led by centre-right Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, of aiming to close the station.
The freezing of A1's account also prompted the opposition to start a parliament boycott last Friday. EU representatives have expressed concern that the situation could push Macedonia into a political crisis.
Once a fan of Macedonia’s right-wing government, relations have long since plummeted, fomenting a bitter feud with Macedonia’s right-wing rulers.
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