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North Macedonia jails 16 over violent storming of parliament

AFP  |  Skopje 

A former was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Friday for his part in orchestrating a mob attack on parliament in 2017, one of 16 people given jail terms over the violence.

Scores were injured in the bloody rioting that erupted on April 27, 2017 when around 100 nationalist demonstrators, including masked men, stormed the assembly at the culmination of a post-election political crisis.

Several lawmakers were beaten, including Zaev, who went on to become and pass the historic name deal with that added "North" to former Macedonia's name, ending a long-running dispute.

A court in on Friday sentenced the 16 defendants, including some police officers, giving them prison terms ranging from seven to 18 years for "terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security".

The longest sentence was given to former and then-public

"The events were broadcast live, and citizens watched those terrible images with bleeding heads of lawmakers and journalists who were under attack, which undoubtedly caused insecurity and fear," said.

Fifteen others who were initially accused were earlier pardoned by an passed by One defendant was also acquitted on Friday.

The pardoned include five MPs from the opposition who were key to passing the contentious name deal, which came into force last month.

The attack on the parliament followed months of protests by nationalists opposed to a coalition deal between Zaev's Social Democrats and minority ethnic Albanian parties.

The alliance eventually ousted the party of former PM Nikola Gruevski, who had held power for nearly a decade.

In November 2018 Gruevski fled to to escape a two-year prison sentence.

Last month authorities said Gruevksi and several other former senior officials are also being probed for allegedly plotting the parliament attack.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 21:55 IST