The Skopje court is expected to hand the sentences in the second April 27th trial today. The highly politicized case charges several former VMRO-DPMNE officials, such as former Speaker Trajko Veljanoski and former ministers Mile Janakieski and Spiro Ristoski, with organizing the protests that ended with an incident in the Parliament in 2017.
The Zaev regime used the first trial, in which actual protest organizers and participants were charged, to blackmail three VMRO-DPMNE members of Parliament into voting for the imposed name change. Selective pardons were issued afterwards.
The second trial aims to maintain pressure on the opposition party, whose officials faced dozens of trials over the past six years. Charges are based on the testimony of the same witness who was used in the original trial, and who cut a deal with the prosecution to claim that he was present in the main VMRO-DPMNE offices on the day of the protests. Acording to the defense, the prosecution did not present any evidence that the defendants organized the protests or planned for them to turn violent.