Supporters of journalist Tomislav Kezarovski, who built up his case as a media freedom issue, are angry after prosecutors announced they will contest the retrial and will push to have him sentenced again.

Kezarovski, a journalist covering mostly crime and the police, was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, lowered to two years on appeal, after he published the name of a protected murder witness in 2013. The witness testified in a case that landed two contract killers in jail after they murdered an old man in the village of Orese near Veles, over an alleged family feud.

The publication of the name of the witness, in a small circulation boulevard tabloid ran by Kezarovski prompted the witness to withdraw his testimony. Faced with the danger of the murderers walking free, prosecutors demanded that Kezarovski reveals the court sources who gave him the name of the witness. He refused, was sentenced to prison, but was picked up as a cause by several left wing Soros funded organizations dealing with media freedom and promoted into a political/free speech prisoner. Under international pressure, Kezarovski was released into house arrest and eventually the trial was ordered to start anew.

The organizations broadly supported the SDSM party and its power grab throgh the 2015 political crisis, so they are incensed that the prosecutors, now controlled by SDSM, still want to have the case tried.

The other major free speech cause which SDSM evoked, the 2013 tragic death of conservative journalist turned critic of the VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Mladenov. Mladenov died in a car crash while speeding down a highway, but SDSM and the left wing NGO groups supporting the party kept raising allegations that his death was actually a deliberate murder on the part of the then ruling party. Recently, Mladenov’s wife Biljana came out and acknowledged that the story was a lie and that Mladenov’s death was an accident.