The former director of the Security and Counterintelligence Department of Northern Macedonia, Sasha Mijalkov, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegally listening to thousands of citizens in the so-called вЂњTarget FortressвЂќ case.
This is reported by the вЂњBalkan ObserverвЂќ.
According to the Prosecutor's office, in the period from 2008 to 2015, more than 4,000 phone numbers were illegally tracked using three communication monitoring systems of the department without a court decision. In general, the surveillance was conducted for more than 200 00 citizens.
In the case ofвЂќ Target FortressвЂќ, several other officials of the law enforcement agencies of Northern Macedonia at different levels were charged. They are accused of criminal conspiracy and abuse of office, forgery of official documents for mass illegal eavesdropping of citizens, as well as the destruction of sound recording equipment, which caused damage to the budget.
Former Interior Minister Gordan Jankuloska was sentenced to 4 years in prison. The former official from the Ministry of Internal Affairs Nadica Nikolic for 3 years, the former head of the office of Mijalkov Toni Yakimovsky to 6 years. Former UBK officials Goran Gruevski and Nikola Boszkowski received 15 years in prison in absentia вЂ” they escaped and are now abroad вЂ” in Greece.
Four other people were given suspended sentences.
Mijalkov ran the secret service from 2006 to 2015, during the rule of his cousin, former North Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled the country more than two years ago and was granted political asylum in Hungary.
Mijalkov disappeared a few days before the trial, but a day later he came to the prosecutor, saying that he had health problems and was in self-isolation. After the verdict, his house arrest was replaced with a stay behind bars due to the likelihood of escape.
The verdict in the case of вЂњTarget FortressвЂќ was passed by the first instance, and the parties have the right to appeal to the Court of appeal.