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News 09 Feb 15

Macedonia PM Accused of Large-Scale Wire-Tapping

The Macedonian opposition accused Prime Minister and the country's secret police chief of eavesdropping on more than 20,000 people, and released recordings which it said support its allegation.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

 

 

Opposition head Zoran Zaev holding part of the transcripts at a press conferrence in Skopje | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Top politicians, opposition leaders, NGO activists, journalists, businessmen, top academics, religious leaders and members of the judiciary have been subjected to widespread surveillance ordered by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and secret police chief Saso Mijalkov, the opposition Social Democratic Party, SDSM, claimed on Monday.

“All socially important people except Nikola Gruevski and Saso Mijalkov have been eavesdropped upon. This makes it clear who did this. We have tons of material to prove this. This is sad news for Macedonia,” SDSM leader Zoran Zaev told a press conference.

According to Zaev, the Prime Minister has been receiving daily reports on his political opponents prepared by the secret services.

Zaev says he has been targeted for at least five years, although legally, the longest period that a person can be eavesdropped upon with a judge’s consent is 14 months. The opposition played audio materials which is said were Zaev’s conversations with party colleagues as well as one private call with his young daughter.

Even Gruevski’s closest political associates have not been spared, the opposition alleged. A private phone conversation between what it said was Police Minister Gordana Jankuloska and Finance Minister Zoran Stavreski was aired at the press conference. The conversation appears to suggest that the VMRO DPMNE authorities are in charge of state employment. In the rest of the conversation, the two insult their party associates and opposition leaders.

The opposition also played recordings that they said was from tapped conversations involving the head of the junior ruling party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, Ali Ahmeti, and the ethnic Albanian opposition leader, Menduh Thaci, and others.

"This is just the begining," Zaev said : Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Zaev hinted that even that President Gjorge Ivanov, who was Gruevski’s ruling VMRO DPMNE party candidate, was among those who were secretly recorded. 

“It will all be published. Please be patient. We will also publish material about criminal acts committed by individuals,” Zaev said.

“This eavesdropping on a massive scale is impossible without the participation of State Security, the Counter-Intelligence Bureau DBK [secret police] and the mobile operators”, Zaev said.

He said that "brave people" within the intelligence services had provided the material.

Journalists were presented with a total of 11 taped telephone conversations. CDs with audio material and transcripts were handed to the press.

“This is just the beginning,” Zaev said, vowing to make public more material.

In expectation of the announced release of the covertly-recorded material, Gruevski last week accused Zaev of making threats against him in order to seize power. Zaev and several others were charged with espionage and threats against top state officials. Five people have been arrested so far, and Zaev was ordered to hand over his passport.

The opposition leader on Monday again dismissed government claims that the covert material was obtained from a foreign secret service. “They claim that foreign services are behind this and yet they continue to apprehend people from our police,” Zaev told the press conference.

Last week, the state prosecution told media not to publish any material in relation to the case, which might come from the opposition, because it might in the future be classified as part of the criminal investigation of Zaev.

Gruevski, who has been in power since 2006, has insisted that Zaev is a foreign spy, but has not said which country he allegedly worked for.

 

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