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News 12 Oct 17

Macedonian Jailed For Attacking MP in Parliament Rampage

A Skopje court on Thursday jailed Pance Angelov for four years for attacking an MP during a rampage in Macedonia's parliament building on April 27.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Video footage shows Angelov grabbing Sekerinska by her hair

Skopje's Criminal Court on Thursday jailed 65-year-old Pance Angelov for four years for taking part in the mob assault on parliament in April that injured several MPs.

He was seen in video footage from parliament violently pulling the hair of then MP, now Defence Minister, Radmila Sekerinska.

During the previous court hearing, on October 6, Angelov admitted guilt and said he was sorry for what had happened.

He claimed he was, in fact, trying to help Sekerinska by pulling her away from a heated crowd but had over-reacted. He asked the court to take into account his age and the fact that he lived alone when considering the sentence. "If I am sent to jail, there will be no one to take care of me," he said.

The rampage began on April 27, only minutes after parliament had elected an ethnic Albanian, Talat Xaferi, as new the speaker.

An opposition candidate, his election as speaker paved the way for the election of a new opposition-led government.

Supporters of the outgoing VMRO DPMNE party-led government broke into parliament, injuring some 100 people, including journalists and ten MPs.

Footage showed Angelov attacking the then MP from the Social Democratic Union, SDSM, Sekerinska, by pulling her hair violently.

Medical records showed that Sekerinska had been injured and was bleeding from her head.

Other video footage showed the SDSM leader, Zoran Zaev, who in May became Prime Minister, also bleeding after being injured in the head.

The head of the opposition DPA-Movement for Reforms, Zojadin Sela, was beaten unconscious and dragged across the parliament's floor.

The violence continued for around two hours, prompting questions about why parliament had been left unprotected for so long by the police.

VMRO DPMNE, now in opposition, has insisted that the attack on the parliament was a spontaneous event.

However, critics of the party claim that it organized the attack as a last-ditch move to retain power.

The party's top ranking officials are accused of conducting a massive illegal surveillance scheme during the party's 11 years in power. It failed to form new government after the December 11 early general elections.

Security footage from the parliament has fuelled suspicions that the attack on the building was, in fact, organized.

It shows at least two VMRO DPMNE MPs removing the security bars from parliament's main gates on April 27, allowing the crowd to barge inside.

The Organized Crime Prosecution and the police are investigating the case, amid demands for the participants, but also those who organized the attack, to receive harsher penalties.

Police have apprehended several other suspects. Unconfirmed reports say one of them carried a gun – and might even have been there to assassinate Zaev. 

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