“Target” – Nearly 6000 citizens illegally wiretapped by the UBK

 

There is justified suspicion that the suspects abused their offices and authorizations to the detriment of the state resources, and through the abuse of the communication interception systems, have severely violated the fundamental human rights of the illegally wiretapped citizens

In the press conference that took place on 18 November 2016, the Special Prosecution Office (SPO) announced that it has initiated a new investigation under the code name “Target”, on the the illegal interception of communications in the period between 2008 and 2015. Ten persons from the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK) are suspected that they have abused their offices and authorizations and have illegally wiretapped 5827 phone numbers.

It’s interesting that the illegal wiretapping continued even after the “Wiretapping” affair was unveiled on 31 January 2015, and in 2016, as well. According to the evidence, the prime suspect, who had a managing position in the UBK, had been illegally wiretapping  the phone conversations of people close to him and of businessmen and journalists as well.

During the presentation of SPO’s new case, the prosecutor Fatime Fetai said that the fundamental question that must be answered by this Prosecution Office is who, how, with what and finally, what the motives were that made him/her illegally wiretap citizens of the Republic of Macedonia.

The answer to this question, except for the motives, which are subject to this investigation, forms from the insights into the acts of 10 former, and some current, employees from the highest structures to the lower echelons of the UBK, who are suspected as accomplices in the crime – Abuse of office and authorizations from Article 353 Paragraph 5 of the Criminal Code.

In this specific case, there is justified suspicion that the suspects abused their offices and authorizations to the detriment of the state resources, and through the abuse of the communication interception systems, they have severely violated the fundamental human rights of the illegally wiretapped citizens.

The evidence that is currently on our disposal open space for justified suspicion that between 2008 and 2015, with the aid of the communications interception systems, the communications of at least 4286 phone numbers were illegally intercepted without prior court orders for such action. Also, communications between phones were intercepted in the period before the court order was issued, and the interception continued even after the order was voided. At least 1541 different phone conversations were intercepted in that manner, and we come to a total number of 5827 intercepted phones. In addition, people who have been communicating with the phones that have been targeted by the illegal wiretapping in that period were also illegally intercepted.

In this specific case, subject to investigation was the operation of the communication interception systems in the period from 2008 up to and including 2015. We established that all three communication interception system have been operational in that period. Different operations have been taken depending on the communication interception system in use.

The exhibits provide space for justified suspicion that during 2008, three suspects, as heads of departments, have been illegally giving orders for entering, i.e. they have been entering, on their own, phone numbers that weren’t subject to court orders and they have also been listening to phone conversations recorded by the communication interception system, without having the court order to do so…

In addition, the obtained exhibits provide space for suspicion that the illegal communication interception continued even after the wiretapping affair was unveiled, and we have data which show that 138 phone numbers were wiretapped on 31 December 2015, and the evidence in our possession show that the abuse of the communication interception system continued in 2016 as well.

Telma TV station said that suspects in the “Target” case are the former director of UBK, Sasho Mijalkov, the former superintendent of the fifth administration, Goran Grujovski, and several other employees in this service.

The entire press conference is available here, and the media reports regarding this event are available here (in Macedonian).

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *