Sasa Mijalkov should soon leave his prison cell after a court accepted his 11-million-euro guarantee that he will not escape – in a decision condemned as ‘scandalous’ by the ruling party.
Former secret police chief Sasho Mijalkov in a court in Skopje, North Macedonia, March 8. 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/STR
Former secret police chief Sasa Mijalkov will soon leave his detention cell after offering guarantees consisting of real estate and other properties worth more than 11 million euros that he will not escape.
He will be eligible to leave the detention prison in Skopje as soon as the real estate is formally put under a mortgage as a guarantee, the Court of Appeals in Skopje ruled. However, his passport will be taken away and he will have to regularly report to the authorities. He is fading several other trials.
The Court of Appeals accepted Mijalkov’s plea despite the negative opinion given by Skopje’s High Public Prosecution. “The Higher Public Prosecutor’s Office in Skopje submitted a proposal to reject the offered appeal of the defendant,” it told 360 degrees news portal Thursday.
Mijalkov is in detention over a case codenamed “Vault” for which he was sentenced in a first-instance verdict to eight years in jail, for the illicit purchase of surveillance equipment for the Interior Ministry.
Earlier, in February, also in a first-instance verdict, Mijalkov was jailed to 12 years for another high-profile case – masterminding the massive illegal wiretapping of thousands of people between 2008 and 2015, during the former government of his cousin, the now fugitive former PM Nikola Gruevski.
Just before his second verdict was issued in February, Mijalkov disappeared from view for several days. After the police were unable to locate him, he then reappeared, insisting he had not been on the run but had just been sick. The macho move seemingly mocked the authorities’ inability to find him.
The ruling Social Democrats condemned the decision to let the notorious ex-secret police chief leave his prison cell as “scandalous”.
The ruling was “a strong blow to justice done by the judges … How did these judges assess that there is no risk of his escape?” the Social Democrats’ spokesperson, Bogndanka Kuzevska, asked.
Once considered the right hand of his cousin, former PM Gruevski, Mijalkov has faced a slew of indictments and trials since Gruevski’s regime fell in mid-2017. He is currently on trial in three other high-profile cases.
He is fading several other ongoing trials.
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