The Skopje Appeals Court begins the public hearing in the trial of former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov and 15 others charged in the highly politicized 27 April incident trial.
Cavkov and the others, including protesters such as Jane Cento and Interior Ministry officials, were given long prison sentences by an SDSM affiliated judge Dobrila Kacarska, for the 2017 incident in which protesters stormed the Parliament after an irregular vote to elect a new Speaker which eventually led to the SDSM party seizing power. The trial was used by SDSM to pressure three members of Parliament for VMRO-DPMNE to switch sides and vote with SDSM in favor of the imposed name change of the country. While Cavkov, Cento, Igor Durlovski and other defendants refused the offer of amnesty, the three members of Parliament were given amnesty in exchange for their vote.
The protesters are charged with “terrorism” and endangerment of the constitutional order, while Cavkov and the other Interior Ministry official are charged with failing to stop them. Another trial, in which SDSM aligned prosecutors are trying to go after VMRO-DPMNE party officials with allegedly organizing the incident is on-going in the first level court.