Bulgarian MEPs slam Macedonia over "Ratko" case

Bulgarian MEPs slam Macedonia over "Ratko" case
Bulgarian MEPs slam Macedonia over "Ratko" case

A group of Bulgarian lawmakers, upon initiative of Bulgarian People's Union (BNS), wrote a letter to Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski, in which they blame the country of abridging the human rights of Bulgarians in Macedonia.

Krasimir Karakacanov, a MEP of BNS coalition, said contents of the letter refer to "Ratko" case i.e. the incident that took place six years ago during a presentation of Ratko organization in Skopje. In the course of presentation of Ratko, two smoke bombs were hurled and the journalist Spase Shuplinski was reportedly attacked.

Makfax news agency quotes Karakacanov as saying that the letter notes that the executive and judicial authorities in Macedonia had conducted a "one-way" investigation and the entire case ended with a conviction of two members of Ratko, who were sentenced to three months in jail each. Later on, the sentence was extended to six-month imprisonment upon an appeal filed by prosecutors.

"Given the principles of justice and protection of human rights, we call on the President and the Prime Minister to do everything in their power to ensure that the case of two citizens be solved in an upright manner, furthermore, to ensure that the incident at Holiday Inn hotel be resolved through appropriate legal proceedings," it is said in the letters to President Crvenkovski and PM Buckovski.

Karakacanov notes that incidents like the one mentioned hereabove show that Macedonia is a long way off meeting the criteria for launch of EU and NATO accession talks.

So far, there has been no information on how many MEPs have put their signatures on the letter posted to Crvenkovski and Buckovski.

Krasimir Karakacanov is leader of VMRO-Bulgarian National Movement (BND), an anti-Macedonian party in Bulgaria whose main political strategy is to deny the identity of Macedonia and the Macedonian nationality. It also denies the existence of Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.

In the spring of 2005, VMRO-BND built a pre-election coalition with the parties chaired by Anastasija Mozer and Stefan Sofiyanski. The move led to creation of post-election coalition BNS, which holds 13 seats in 240-member Bulgarian National Assembly.