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

Interivew 24 Mar 17

NATO’s Jamie Shea Regrets Nationalist Revival in Balkans

News 24 Mar 17

US Holocaust Envoy Warns Croatia About Fascist Symbols

News 23 Mar 17

Bosnian Defence Official Fired Over Serb Troop Display

News 20 Mar 17

Croatia Threatened with Lawsuit by WWII Victims

News 16 Mar 17

US Lawyer: WWII Lawsuit Against Croatia ‘Invalid’

News 16 Mar 17

Croatian Tour Guides Ask for War History Lessons



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