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Saturday, December 10, 2016, 

Macedonian media associations react after Appeals Court reduces sentence for journalist Tomislav Kezarovski

Macedonian media associations react after Appeals Court reduces sentence for journalist Tomislav Kezarovski

Skopje, 16 January 2015 (MIA) - Macedonian journalism associations are speaking against the Appeals Court decision to sentence journalist Tomislav Kezarovski to two years for revealing the name of a protected witness in a brutal murder case. While the Appeals Court reduced Kezarovski initial sentence and he should be free in a few months, the Macedonian Association of Journalists (MAN) believes that Kezarovski should have been released in full.

"MAN believes that any sentence for journalism is excess, including this one for our colleague Kezarovski. All the more that the sentence given to the journalist writing about the case is higher than the sentences for some of the actual culprits covered in his writing", MAN writes in a press release. The Association calls on the Supreme Court to meet and change the sentence as soon as possible. The Association of journalists of Macedonia (ZNM), another journalist organization, called for protests in front of the Appeals Court on Friday.

Kezarovski was put in detention in May 2013, over an article published in a boulevard magazine "Reporter 92" in 2008. In the article, he revealed the name of a witness who testified against the two suspected killers in a brutal machine gun murder case of an elderly man in the village of Oreshe. The case involved claims of mafia involvement, and allegations that court sources gave the name of the protected witness to the media, to sabotage the case. The witness, whose name was revealed by Kezarovski, afterwards withdrew his statement.

Kezarovski refused to reveal for the court who gave him the identity of the witness, and was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison for breaking the law that protects witnesses. The Appeals Court on Thursday reduced the sentences for a number of other persons involved in the case, with two judges and a public prosecutor from the city of Veles who worked on the murder case being sentenced to between 18 months and three years in prison.

The prosecution of a journalist prompted reactions from international organizations for freedom of expression, who claimed that Kezarovski was prosecuted because of his reports over the car crash in which Nikola Mladenov, editor of a weekly Fokus, has died. Kezarovski claimed that he didn't intend to reveal the name of the protected witness, but to point out to mistakes in the handling of the Oreshe murder case.

He spent five months in detention, and a little over a year in home detention.cc/09:18

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