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Macedonia: PEN protests 'conditional freedom' of Tomislav Kezarovski

Wednesday 21 January 2015 - 11:56am

21 January 2015

PEN International President John Ralston Saul yesterday marched with thousands of journalists, writers and members of PEN Macedonia, Katika Kulavkova and Vladimir Martinovski, in protest against the continued imprisonment of Macedonian journalist, Tomislav Kezarovski. Kezarovski, a journalist for the Skopje-based daily Nova Makedonija, was convicted in October 2013 of revealing the identity of a protected witness in a murder case in a story published in 2008. He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison but released and placed under house arrest the following month. He was arrested on Friday 16 January 2015, after an appeal resulted in his sentence being reduced to two years.

During the march Kezarovski was suddenly released on ‘conditional freedom’ for a month; though his future remains unclear as four and half months of his sentence remains. Vlademir Martinovski, Secretary General of Macedonian PEN Natasha Avramovski, board member of PEN Macedonia and John Ralston Saul visited Kezarovski this morning at his home to learn more about his current situation.

In cases like this it’s important to be on the ground working with our members in our Centres for the release of imprisoned writers. It’s good to know that Tomislav Kezarovski is back at home. The question is what happens next? It is essential that we all encourage the Macedonian government not to send Kezarovski back to prison for the remaining months of his sentence’ - PEN International President John Ralston Saul

Kezarovski was charged in relation to an article he wrote in 2008 for Reporter 92 about a murder case in Orese. The witness in question confessed in court in February 2013 that he had given false evidence against the accused killers; he also testified that he did not have protected witness status until 2010, two years after Kezarovski wrote his article.

PEN began advocating for Kezarovski in September 2013, while the journalist was being held in extended pre-trial detention. Kezarovski was arrested, allegedly by Special Forces soldiers in March 2013 and given a 30-day temporary detention order, which was extended every 30 days until his trial concluded. PEN wrote to the Macedonian Minister of Justice in 2013 calling for the journalist’s release.

For more information on Tomislav Kezarovski click here.