Macedonia: Special Prosecutor Accuses Former Secret Police Head of Torture

Published: 30 March 2016

Katica Janeva (left) and Fatima Fetai, Photo:

By Igor Spaic

The former head of Macedonia's secret police and several officers are being investigated over alleged torture during the 2011 arrest of government critic Ljube Boskoski, a former interior minister.

The Special Prosecutors office, run by Katica Janeva, held a news conference Monday to discuss the investigation sparked by a series of tapes released by opposition leader Zoran Zaev throughout 2015.

Zaev, the leader of the political party SDSM, alleges former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski ordered the illegal wiretapping of more than 20,000 Macedonian citizens, including members of Gruevski's own cabinet and political party, the VMRO-DPMNE.

The tapes allegedly feature the voices of Gruevski, members of his cabinet and political allies, with discussions covering efforts to influence the judiciary, nepotism, electoral fraud, abuse of power, illegal government spendingpolitically motivated arrests and an attempted murder cover-up.

One of Janeva's deputies, Fatime Fetai, said Monday that her office suspects that Saso Mijalkov, former head of the secret police and Gruevski's cousin, ordered six of his officers to torture Boskoski during his 2011 arrest.

Boskoski was once Minister of Interior under a VMRO-DPMNE government. But disagreements with the party ultimately led to Boskoski splitting off and running for president unsuccessfully as an independent candidate in 2009. He established his own political party in the same year, United for Macedonia.

According to BalkanInsight, Boskoski was arrested on suspicion of illegally funding his political campaign on June 6, 2011, one day after the general elections in which his party failed to secure any parliamentary seats. By the end of the year, Boskoski was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Fetai said evidence suggests that the head of the secret police induced officers in his team to cause mental suffering to Boskoski during his arrest. She said the officers used excessive force, despite there being no resistance from Boskoski, and then held him in position facing a public toilet for more than a half an hour "so that it can be recorded by the media, who were informed about the event".

It is not hard to conclude that this caused Boskoski mental suffering, Fetai said, and that he has been discriminated against on political grounds. 

One of the recordings released by Zaev last year suggests Boskoski's arrest may have been politically driven. A voice, which Zaev alleges was Mijalkov, can be heard bragging to owners and editors of media about the arrest, according to BalkanInsight.

During his arrest, Boskoski was pressed against the ground in handcuffs and subjected to insults, some of which were aimed at his family.