News 14 May 13

Macedonia Upholds Jailing of Ex-Police Minister Boskoski

Macedonia’s supreme court has rejected an appeal by former police minister Ljube Boskoski, confirming his five-year prison sentence for illegally financing his political party’s campaign.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN

Ljube Boskoski in court

The supreme court on Tuesday upheld Boskoski’s sentence for illegally financing his political campaign and for abusing his position as head of the small right-wing opposition party United for Macedonia.

Boskoski was jailed for seven years in November 2011 but an appeals court later reduced the term to five years.

He insisted the case against him was politically orchestrated by the centre-right government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and asked the supreme court to overturn the sentence and release him.

He claimed that he was targeted for his criticism of Gruevski’s government.

“I am imprisoned, crushed, humiliated,” Boskoski said at the appeals court last year, insisting that he was “a politician, not a criminal”.

Police arrested Boskoski one day after the June 2011 general election in which his party failed to win a single seat.

They said they found 100,000 euro in cash in his possession after arresting him in a Skopje restaurant in an operation conducted in front of TV cameras.

Boskovski also faces far more serious charges in another ongoing court case.

In October last year prosecutors charged him with assisting in the murder of two people in 2001 while he was head of the Macedonian police.

The latest decision by the supreme court comes a month after Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov rejected a plea to pardon Boskoski, an initiative backed by some associations of veterans from the 2001 armed conflict between the security forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents.

Boskoski was police minister from 2001 to 2002 during the short but violent conflict.

He was later acquitted of war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

 

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