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News 10 Jul 13

Macedonian Journalist's Death Declared 'Accident'

The death of the prominent journalist Nikola Mladenov in a car crash near Skopje in March was an accident, the Public Prosecutor's Office said.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Nikola Mladenov | Photo by: Fokus

After reviewing all the evidence, the city of Skopje's chief prosecutor, Gordana Geskovska, on Wednesday said no further investigation was necessary as there was no suggestion that a crime took place.

Mladenov, widely regarded as pioneer of free speech in Macedonia, died on March 27 when his car overturned in a ditch near the highway at the entrance to Skopje.

Although the police and the investigative judge were quick to declare the case an accident, the scarce police report into the crash and other circumstances prompted some to suspect foul play.

After the tragedy, the Nova Makedonija daily said it had uncovered evidence that the official investigation had missed. Among the finds, picked up from the site of the crash, were four road toll receipts that the newspaper said might prove crucial to filling in blanks.

Mladenov was the founder and owner of Macedonia's oldest political weekly, Fokus, formed in 1995.

The newspaper reflected his critical views of the government of Nikola Gruevski. Soon after Mladenov’s death the weekly closed, although its team recently announced a relaunch.

Previously, the investigative judge in to the case, Vladimir Tufegdzic, said Mladenov might have died as a result of a violent injury to his aorta.

He said that at the time of the accident his vehicle was travelling at 160kph and no trace of alcohol or drugs was found in his body.

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