Judge Ognen Stavrev agreed to postpone today’s hearing in the so-called TNT case, after one of the defendants, former Gazi Baba Mayor Toni Trajkovski was badly beaten in an attack last evening.
Stavrev, who has been pushing for a sentencing since last week and has violated defendant rights by ordering 12 hour long hearings, scheduled the next hearing for tomorrow. His initial order was to have Trajkovski dragged before the court by police, but after images of his injuries surfaced, Stavrev relented.
There is still no clear information on who attacked Trajkovski, who was assaulted while walking with former Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski yesterday evening. A group of men surrounded and accosted them, before attacking Trajkovski.
Trajkovski’s lawyher told the court that the former Mayor was attacked with a metal object, has serious injuries, and also needs to receive a tetanus shot.
The way Stavrev, a judge seen as fully loyal to the ruling SDSM party, has been pushing the trial raised a lot of speculation about his motives, from lucrative to political ones. As is typical of cases initiated by the now disgraced Special Prosecutor’s Office, the defendants in this case include former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and former Transportation Minister Mile Janakieski. What is unusual is that, if they are found guilty, a businessman affiliated with the SDSM party, who is under investigation for paying more than 200.000 EUR in bribes to former Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva, stands to receive up to 40 million EUR in damages from the state.