News 10 Jan 13

Skopje Mass Murder Defendants Plead Innocent

Three of the six defendants charged with killing five men in April pleaded innocent at the start of their trial in Skopje.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The defendants in court | Photo by: MIA

The hearing of the first three defendants, Agim Ismailovic, Fejzi Aziri and Rami Sejdi in the case known as “Monster”, started on Wednesday and lasted more than five hours in the Skopje District Court.

All three men pleaded innocent, claiming to have been at other locations at the time of the slayings that took place in April near the Skopje ring road.

“I have never even been to the place [where the murders took place],” Ismailovic said.

The other defendant, Aziri, said he spent the entire day in the nearby Ilinden municipality, where he attended a public event staged by the local authorities and conducted business with the mayor, Zika Stojanovski.

Rami Sejdi, said he was at his home.

The bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12.

The bodies had been lined up and appeared to have been executed. The body of 45-year-old Borce Stevkovski was found a short distance away from the rest.

The prosecution has pressed terrorism charges against six persons suspected of having organized and committed the murders.

Two defendants, Alil Demiri and Afrim Ismailovic, remain at large. Agim Ismailovic, Fejzi Aziri, Rami Sejdi and Haki Aziri appeared in court.

According to the charges, Demiri and Afrim and Agim Ismailovic committed the murders with automatic rifles, while the others provided logistical support.

News of the murder raised ethnic tensions, after groups of ethnic Macedonians staged protests, some of them violent, blaming the killings on members of the country’s large Albanian community.

The murder scene near Skopje | Photo by: AP/Boris Grdanoski

In May, police arrested 20, allegedly radicalised, Muslims, including four of the defendants, in an operation in several villages around the capital.

The police maintain that the killings were a terrorist act committed to provoke ethnic turmoil.

In 2001 Macedonia experienced a violent armed conflict between government forces and ethnic Albanian rebels, which ended with the signing of the Ohrid peace Accord that granted more rights to Albanians.

The trial was originally set to start in December but the court accepted the defence lawyers' request for more time to study the charges.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Vukovar Anniversary 17 Nov 17

Justice Hopes Fade for Victims of Devastated Vukovar

News 14 Nov 17

Four Serbian Men Convicted of Torching US Embassy

news 13 Nov 17

Kosovo Court Upholds Serbian Church’s Right to Land

news 10 Nov 17

Kosovo Aids Families of Macedonia Shootout Convicts

News 07 Nov 17

Republika Srpska Postpones State Judiciary Referendum

News 06 Nov 17

Bosnian Serbs Put Referendum Decision on Ice

News 02 Nov 17

Macedonia Gives Kumanovo Gunmen Heavy Jail Terms

Feature 02 Nov 17

Macedonian Schools Work to Bridge Ethnic Divide

news 01 Nov 17

No War Crimes Evidence Against Kosovo Serb Minister



Serb Minority Rights Scripted Out in Croatia

The muted response to the Croatian town of Vukovar’s decision to scrap controversial bilingual signs in Latin and Serb Cyrillic script suggests the EU has lost focus on minority rights, analysts claimed.

Croatian Dissident Feared Kidnap by Yugoslav Spies

The trial of Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic, former Yugoslav spy chiefs accused of killing a Croatian émigré, heard that the victim repeatedly told his German lover that he was living in fear.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter