A Skopje court has on May 18 postponed the trial of the nine people indicted for the violence that took place during the storming of the parliament on April 27 following the unconventional election of the new speaker, which left some 100 people injured. The trial has been postponed until May 23 because one of the indicted is under house arrest, news agency MIA reported.
The nine, who are allegedly close to the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, were indicted for participation in a mob and preventing officials from performing their official duty on May 8. They could face prison terms of between three months and three years.
Two of the indicted are a father and his son who are charged with attempted murder for their role in allegedly beating Ziadin Sela, an MP from the Alliance for Albanians party, who suffered the most serious injuries among those attacked.
About 30 people are suspected for participating in the violence with some of them placed under house arrest while others have been given a caution.
The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) party claims the violent incidents were caused by people close to the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party but it denies it had any role in the incident. However, on the day that President Gjorge Ivanov granted a mandate to the SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, Ivanov called on parliament to consider granting amnesty to the participants in the protests "in the spirit of reconciliation" during an interview with broadcaster Kanal 5 on May 17. He claimed that people were driven by "emotions provoked by events in the parliament".
The VMRO-DPMNE party continues to insist that the election of Talat Xhaferi as new speaker was not legal since it was not carried out in line with official protocol. The For United Macedonia group, which has close links to VMRO-DPMNE, is legally contesting the constitutionality of Xhaferi's election through the Constitutional Court.
Ardita Abazi Imeri, programme coordinator for EU acquis and sector policy at the Skopje-based European Policy Institute told bne IntelliNews recently that after the terrible events in the Macedonian parliament the first step is for all those involved in the violence to be taken responsible under a transparent procedure.
“Without full responsibility for these serious criminal acts we can't talk about the rule of law and democracy,” Imeri told bne IntelliNews via e-mail.
Supporters of those indicted gathered in front of the court on May 18 waving flags with inscriptions reading: “I believed in everything, but not that I will be tried by my people for Macedonia.”
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