Former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov and police officer Dusko Lazarov joined political prisoners Igor Durlovski, Jane Cento and Igor Jug and refused to seek amnesty under the law hastily passed by the Parliament.

The remaining 28 individuals accused of “terrorism” and other crimes related to the April 27th 2017 incident in the Parliament all requested pardons. These include members of Parliament and some of the protest organizers who did not attack anybody in the Parliament, but were charged for political purposes.

Cavkov’s attorney Saso Dukovski said that the law is “custom made for a category of defendants and it has served its political purpose. We have no reason to participate in this circus”.

The law is custom made for a category of defendants and it has served its political purpose. We have no reason to participate in this circus, Saso Dukovski – lawyer representing former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov

Three of the charged members of Parliament broke ranks with the VMRO-DPMNE party and voted in favor of opening the process to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia. Shortly after they, and five other colleagues, who are pressured with charges in different criminal cases, began negotiations with the Government to receive amnesty.

VMRO-DPMNE proposed broad amnesty for all defendants to avoid the selective process in place now, which is clearly designed to force the members of Parliament to vote in favor of renaming the country, but this was refused by the SDSM led Government. Dusko Jankovic, lawyer for police officer Dusko Lazarov, also said that his client feels no blame and doesn’t want mercy. He also condemned the Parliament for including judge Dobrila Kacarska, who is widely seen as pawn of the Government, in the decision making process, adding another layer of pressure on the accused members of Parliament and other defendants.

Durlovski’s move on Tuesday was met with an outpour of support on the social media accounts. The world renowned opera singer was merely singing the Macedonian national anthem at the protest before the Parliament, and was not present when an improved and irregular vote to elect a new Speaker in the Parliament provoked the protesters to storm the building. He and Jane Cento, the grandson of Macedonian World War Two military commander Metodija Andonov Cento, who was also politically persecuted by the Communist regime, are the most prominent political prisoners in the country, now joined by Cavkov.