News 06 Mar 13

Macedonia Seeks Extradition of Mass Murder Suspects

Macedonia will soon file an extradition request to neighbouring Kosovo for two recently-arrested ethnic Albanians wanted for trial over high-profile killings near Skopje.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
Four of the defendants have pleaded not guilty | Photo by: MIA

The justice ministry said it expected to file a request to Kosovo in two or three days for the extradition of the two ethnic Albanians wanted for involvement in the murders of five Macedonians.

“We are now waiting for the Skopje criminal court to hand us the case documents,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We will translate them and send them to the Kosovo authorities along with the extradition request,” it said.

On Sunday, Kosovo police detained Alil Demiri and Afrim Ismailovic, the last two of six ethnic Albanians wanted for trial over the killings near the Macedonian capital in April 2012.

A court in Pristina ordered them to be detained for 30 days.

They are indicted by the Macedonian prosecution as direct perpetrators of the multiple killings in the case known locally as ‘Monster’.

Meanwhile, the trial resumed on Tuesday in the absence of the wanted Afrim Ismailovic and Alil Demiri, who are among six ethnic Albanians facing charges.

The session was held behind closed dours because the court was hearing tapes of telephone conversations between the defendants provided by the prosecution.

The bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12 last year.

Their corpses 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 Macedonian prosecution has pressed terrorism charges against the six men suspected of having organised and committed the murders. According to the charges, the group wanted to provoke ethnic tensions.

The trial opened in Skopje in December, while the two recently-detained suspects were still on the run. The other defendants, Agim Ismailovic, Fejzi Aziri, Rami Sejdi and Haki Aziri have pleaded not guilty.

The four were held when police arrested 20 allegedly radical Muslims during an operation last May in several villages around the capital.

Although the trial in Skopje is now nearing its end, sources at the Skopje criminal court say that if the two recently-arrested suspects are extradited to Macedonia, there is a possibility that proceedings might have to start again.

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