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Skopje Murder Suspect Talks to Investigators

May 11, 2012

 

One of the detainees held in relation to the killing of five people near Skopje on April 12 has revealed details of the crime to the investigation, a police source told Balkan Insight.

 

Photo by: AP/Boris Grdanoski

Haki Haziri, 28, from the Skopje municipality of Shuto Orizari, has told the investigative judge in Skopje that he drove the vehicle that the murder suspects used in the killing.

Describing details from the route they used, he claimed that he was initially not aware that the group intended to kill people, sources in the investigation told Balkan Insight.

In his verbal statement before the judge he said he became aware of the plans of the group only after they pulled out weapons and put on masks.

He was allegedly not aware that his two cousins had weapons on them when they entered the car that he was driving.

After the murder, he said they ditched the vehicle hear the highway and took another car to head out to villages near the town of Kumanovo. There, another cousin helped some of the suspects illegally cross the border to Kosovo.

Haziri insisted he wished to tell everything he knew about the crime, saying that he had “lost 20 kilos due to his guilty conscious when he became aware that he was part of the group that carried out the killing”, the source said.

On Tuesday, Haziri’s father, Sefet, sent a letter to the EU and US embassies in Macedonia, saying he did not know where his son was for seven days, and accusing the police of threatening to kill his son if he declined to be a witness.

On April 12 the bodies of Filip Slavkovski, Aleksandar Nakjevski, Cvetanco Acevski and Kire Trickovski, all aged between 18 and 20, were discovered on April 12 near Zelezarsko Ezero on the northern outskirts of the capital, a popular fishing destination.  The body of 45-year-old Borce Stevkovski was a short distance away from the rest.

The murder sharply raised ethnic tensions between Macedonians and country’s Albanian minority, as rumors spread that the killers were Albanians.

Police on May 1 arrested 20 ethnic Albanians in an operation in several villages around the capital. A court later ordered 30 days’ detention for nine of the arrested.

Meanwhile, police have filed terrorism and murder charges against five people that they say organized and carried out the killings, three of whom have been arrested. The other two are believed to have fled the country.

Haziri is the sixth person that the police have charged for the murder. A cousin and an uncle of his are also among the suspects.

Immediately after the May 1 arrests Haziri was given protected witness status when he started revealing details to the police.

But one week later he asked for this status to be abolished, after which he was also brought before an investigative judge and sent to 30 days’ detention.

Sources says that Haziri’s testimony could significantly speed up the trial, and that the prosecution has already hinted that it may seek a lighter sentence for him in exchange for his testimony.

Meanwhile, his defence lawyers have complained that they still have not received access to the evidence that the police claims it found in relation to the murder.

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