During the trial over the beating of Hristijan Pendikov in Ohrid, the prosecution said that they will prove that Pendikov was attacked because of ethnic hatred, after he began declaring himself as a Bulgarian.

Prosecutors said that they have evidence that the attacker Ilija Spaseski told Pendikov that he should be ashamed of declaring Bulgarian ethnicity, before attacking him. When people wanted to seek help for the beaten man, Spaseski allegedly told them that it is not worth calling the police “for a Bulgarian”.

The beating caused a major incident between the two countries and brought Macedonian – Bulgarian relations to a new low, all but assuring that Bulgaria will veto Macedonia’s EU accession talks. Pendikov was a Macedonian activist who, recently, began to promote pro-Bulgarian positions and joined the recently founded Bulgarian club in Ohrid. After the attack, which left him badly injured, he was airlifted to Sofia for treatment and is unlikely to return to Macedonia to attend the trial, or a previous case pending against him for drug trafficking, considering the threats he has been receiving over the past months.