The Association of Journalists of Macedonia is dissatisfied with the ruling of the Skopje Primary Court, which ruled that the offense of journalist Tomislav Kezharovski was sentenced six years ago for the case “Liquidation” has received stature of limitation. We believe that such development of events does not provide benefit neither to journalism nor to the rule of law as a whole.
At the same time, we are outraged by the fact that in recent years, the Association has repeatedly requested the Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office to drop the indictment against Kezharovski after the Supreme Court returned his case for retrial.
As the case was returned for re-trial, we also called on the Skopje Criminal Court to drop the indictment, declaring our colleague Kezharovski innocent, thereby demonstrating that in this country freedom of speech is guaranteed as basic human right. Unfortunately, none of the institutions showed understanding and reasonableness regarding this subject.
The damage created by this case is huge for the state. We were marked as the only country that had a journalist in jail, we were labeled as a non-free country that violated journalistic rights and freedoms. Such examples of the practice of judicial authorities that unfortunately fail to protect journalists do not contribute to the poor perception of the judiciary.
Due to this, we have been subject to long-term critics by all relevant international reports. A European Commission report on the state says that law enforcement agencies and the Public Prosecutor’s Office should effectively monitor all incidents against journalists. The old cases of the most serious physical assaults on journalists have not been resolved due to unprofessional conduct in investigations.
The consequences of such turn of events for colleague Kezarovski are enormous. Above all, his health is impaired, as well as the honor and journalist’s reputation. The Association of Journalists of Macedonia has informed all relevant domestic and international organizations about this problem. In addition, we will also send a report to representatives of the international community expressing concern and requesting accountability from all competent authorities handling this case.