The government is trying to suppress the “Colorful Revolution” by detaining people

 

According to the Helsinki Committee for Human rights, 13 persons are invited for interrogation or were interrogated, 11 have got misbehavior sanctions and two of them have been sent to house arrest for the events from 13 April 2016. Several other people have been invited for interrogation today as well, among whom is one of the Levica’s leaders, Zdravko Savevski. These actions are considered as intimidation, with the intention to cease the protests

 

Author: Teofil Blazhevski

 

Representatives of NGOs, political parties and journalists that Truthmeter talked to, believe that the government is trying to suppress the so called “Colorful Revolution” by detaining people for taking part in a crowd and for violence, offences from the Criminal Code that lead to fines but to imprisonment as well.

This attitude appeared after the detention of one of the leaders of the political party Levica, Zdravko Savevski, as well as the attempt to detain several other high officials of this party on Monday, 25 April 2016, following the almost identical procedure – inviting for interrogation in a police station followed by detaining and hearing from an investigative judge on duty.

The party reacted immediately – with a press conference held in front of the Criminal Court in Skopje, the very same day, and addressed three messages:

  • The police should register, but should not process the criminal charges until the end of the political crisis;
  • The Public Prosecution Office should not detain those already having criminal charges against them; and
  • The particular judges who make decisions regarding these criminal charges should detain people under no circumstances.

They also advised their members who have received interrogation invitations not to appear in the police station, and their greatest revolt was caused by the fact that every detention and court decisions are, as they claim, instructed by politicians pardoned for various crimes.

 

HELSINKI COMMITTEE: THE DETENTIONS ARE TO INTIMIDATE THE CITIZENS

Unlike the official police information that they have invited for interrogation only four people, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights says that more than four people have been invited (12 unofficially), and these persons were in the front lines of the protesting crowd in these 10-12 days. Alongside with the other 13 people from the last week, we have a total number of around 20 people who are already in an offensive, criminal or legal proceeding.

Regarding today’s occurrences, we would like to inform that more people who took part in the protests are invited for interrogation. The Helsinki Committee appointed a lawyer for the person Zdravko Savevski, who was invited for interrogation in a police station and then taken to the Basic Public Prosecution Office – Skopje. is said in the Helsinki Committee’s press release.

According to the director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Uranija Pirovska, this situation is not allowed and represents a breach of authority:

Savevski should not be detained for a crime that he will be most likely convicted for (Article 385, Paragraph 1 from the Criminal Code). I emphasize that he is a citizen of the Republic of Macedonia with a permanent place of residency, he has not perpetrated other crimes or offences, he has not been convicted and it will be enough if for instance, his passport is taken, as a securing measure further in the proceeding.

However, having in mind the situation when the municipal building of the Municipality of Centar was being destroyed, the police never identified any of the perpetrators who represented themselves as members of the civil organization Veritas, although the police filed charges against an unknown perpetrator, and now we see that the intention is completely clear.

By arresting and by filing lawsuits and impeachments, the intention is to send a message to everyone who participated in the protests that they will also face lawsuits or impeachments if they continue with protesting. – Pirovska says.

She has no doubts that the ultimate goal is to stop the protests of the so called “Colorful Revolution” i.e. to slowly suppress it by doing so. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights calls the judges not to detain persons.

Similar attitude (until the moment we were finishing this article) has the civil organization Civil, and when it comes to the political parties, the Democratic Alliance shares the same attitude.

CIVIL requests urgent releasing of Saveski, and also requests a cessation of the pressures and actions against human rights activists and against the civil society in general.

Once again, pressuring and acting against an activist or against an organization represents a direct impact upon all activists and organizations! The arrests must stop! – the organization announced on their website.

The Democratic Alliance with the president Pavle Trajanov called for the release of Savevski and also called the courts to sustain political pressures:

The mass protests throughout Macedonia and the world confirm that we are facing serious problems, especially from the aspect of the rule of law and the need for changes and justice. The pardoning and holding elections without elementary conditions were the lasts straws in the pile of dissatisfaction. The attempts for intimidation through detaining participants in the protests will additionally intensify the situation and they could escalate with more serious public disorder. The Democratic Alliance calls the courts not to accept any political pressures and to make their decisions in compliance with the laws.

And for this party too, as it is obvious in the press release, these detentions aim to intimidate the citizens which could intensify the situations.

Anastas Vangeli, social sciences doctoral candidate and a supporter of these protests, as Deutsche Welle introduced him, has similar opinion:

“As the regime falls into chaos and panic triggered by the protests, it drags the entire society down, therefore the protesters are arrested” – Vangeli said.

 

PARTICIPATION IN A CROWD CAN LEAD TO TEN YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT!

The Article according to which Savevski will be convicted is the Article 385 Paragraph 1 from the Criminal Code of the Republic of Macedonia, titled “Participation in a crowd that will perpetrate a criminal offence”:

  • One who will participate in a crowd which with joined forces will perpetrate violence towards people or will damage or destroy high valued property, will be fined or imprisoned up to three years.

The other two Paragraphs from this Article from the Criminal Code state:

  • If a person is deprived of life or is severely injured or there is a high valued damage caused by the acting of the crowd, then the participant will be imprisoned from three months to five years only for participating in the crowd.
  • The crowd’s leader will be imprisoned from one to ten years.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights believes that it is a word of a misdemeanor and the judges should not detain people, yet they should choose other security measures:

This criminal offence projects a fine or imprisonment of up to three years, which is why it is considered as a misdemeanor, for which the perpetrator is generally sent to house arrests, i.e. it would be more appropriate to determine lighter caution measures (for instance: the convict is obliged to report to an official) – the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights assesses.

 

RENEWED (26 April 2016 / 11:08 AM)

After we finalized and published the article, we received an information in the evening on 25 April 2016, that the members of the party Levica, Zdravko Savevski and V. Kunovski were detained by a judge in an investigation procedure. They are sent to 8-day house arrest, although the prosecutor on duty requested detention in an investigative prison. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights calls all detained persons and those who are invited for interrogation regarding the protests, to dial 0800 66 66 6 for free, and to seek free legal assistance. Meanwhile, they remind that the detained persons have their rights which should be pointed out by the authorized officials, such as:

It should be clear that: you have the right to remain silent; the right to an attorney; the right to medical assistance if needed; the right to notify a relative or other close person; the right to suggests witnesses or evidence in your favor; the right to a translator and interpreter if you do not speak 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.

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