Defense attorneys continued their final remarks in the trial against the remaining defendants in the trial over the April 2017 incident in the Parliament. While the accused members of Parliament and protest organizers received pardons as part of their deal to vote in favor of renaming the country into North Macedonia, a number of political prisoners who refused pardons, or were denied one, remain on trial.
Pavlina Zefic, attorney for police officer Mitko Pesov, said that the court is disregarding clear exonerating evidence from Deputy Interior Minister Agim Nuhiu. Pesov is charged because he didn’t give an order to evacuate the SDSM and DUI members of Parliament, who staged a separate session of Parliament to elect a new Speaker and then remained in the Parliament building, retreating toward the press room, as protesters poured in.
According to Zefic, none of the organizers of the incident remain charged, while those who remain on trial, like Pesov, are completely innocent. She pointed out to superior Interior Ministry officers who had authority to order the police to act against the large number of protesters, provoked by the actions of SDSM and DUI.
Earlier on Monday, a similar defense was put forward by Saso Dukovski, lawyer for then Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov, who refused the offer of amnesty. Cavkov is also charged with not giving the order that the police clashes with the protesters. Dukovski also pointed out to Nuhiu, who is not charged even though he also had the same authority, while officials above and below him are being charged.
Other political prisoners like protest organizers Igor Durlovski and Yane Cento also refused the offer of amnesty and remain on trial. Judge Dobrila Kacarska and prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska, both considered close to the now ruling SDSM party, are in charge of the trial and Ruskoska demanded maximum sentences.