The Macedonian Association of Journalists (MAN) strongly condemned the suspended prison sentence handed to investigative journalist Aleksandar Mitovski who heads the Infomax news site. Mitovski was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended over two years, for publishing the key testimony in the Racket scandal, as prosecutors were walking on eggshells over whether to indict the perpetrators of the huge racketeering scandal. Mitovski’s reporting and the publication of the testimony by businessman Jordan Orce Kamcev contributed to moving the trial forward and revealed to the public the involvement of top SDSM party officials in the scandal – a fact that the prosecutors are desperate to conceal.

Mitovski is sentenced for revealing a document from the archives of the state prosecutor’s service, which was in public use before the court. The document that was published is not classified. It’s the testimony of a witness in the Racket case which is being hidden from the public. Sentencing a journalist to six months in prison is a unique such case in Europe. For weeks the prosecutors claimed that there are no politicians mentioned in the trial, but the report published by Aleksandar Mitovski confirmed the exact opposite – it shows that former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and a number of his close associates are mentioned in the investigation, MAN said in its press release.

The association of journalists declared the work Mitovski did to be of clear public interest.

This document revealed that the prosecutors are deliberately concealing the involvement of the then Prime Minister in the Racket scandal. That is the real reason why this report was not supposed to be published and that is why a journalist is sentenced to six months in prison – to warn other journalists against doing the same, against reporting about the Government, about the judges and the prosecutors. This is a direct and clear threat. The prosecutors and the judges in this case are clearly serving the ruling SDSM party, MAN adds in its press release.