The prosecution in the second April 27th trial, over the 2017 incident in the Parliament, tried to use the recent storming of the US Capitol to is benefit. Prosecutor Vilma Ruskoska, who is seeking long prison terms against former VMRO-DPMNE party officials for allegedly organizing the protests whose participants were provoked into entering the Parliament, recently drew a line between the two cases during her closing argument in court.
But the comparison took a hit today when a US court handed the first sentence in the January 6th incident. Protester Paul Hodgkins was given eight months in prison – a far cry from the sentences Ruskoska wants to see in the April 27th trial.
Over 500 protesters are charged in the US, for the incident in which the only fatality was on the side of the protesters, and no there are no charges filed against the protest organizers – as is the case in Macedonia.
After Ruskoska compared the incidents, the defense responded by comparing the charges. Most of the defendants in the US face charges of obstructing officers, while some of them are charged with resisting arrest or assault.
None are charged with “terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order”, said defense attorney Goce Ristevski.
Ruskoska pushed the terrorism angle during the first April 27th trial as well, when mere participants in the protest were charged with terrorism and given more than 10 years in prison. This trial was famously used to blackmail three members of Parliament into voting for the imposed name change. And now, the first sentencing in the US only adds to the impression that Ruskoska is using the outrageous charges for political gain.