The three Bulgarians detained at the Macedonian checkpoint “Deve Bair” were kept in handcuffs for 6 hours and were beaten. This is what their lawyer told BNR on Sunday.
Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia (RCM) celebrated on Saturday 151 years since the birth of Gotse Delchev in a situation of great tension between the two countries. Dozens of Bulgarians were not allowed at the border, and the Gueshevo border crossing remained closed to citizens around 3 p.m. Among those not admitted was a journalistic team of bTV with the argument that it represents “danger to public order, national security, public health and international relations of the RSM”.
The Macedonian Interior Ministry admitted that three Bulgarians were detained at the border who insulted and attacked the police officers, and “Vazrazhdane” specified that one of them was the former MP from the party Angel Georgiev. The official Bulgarian delegation, led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria Ivan Demerdzhiev, still managed to lay a wreath on the grave of Gotse Delchev in the Church of St. Spas in Skopje.
The three Bulgarians from the “Vazrazhdane” party who were detained on Saturday around noon at the Macedonian border crossing “Deve Bair” were held in handcuffs for 6 hours at the Kriva Palanka police station, explained the lawyer, whose name was not mentioned.
The lawyer of the three detainees from the “Vazrazhdane” party twice went to Kriva Palanka as their defender. They were released after midnight and returned home after 1:00 a.m. through the Gueshevo checkpoint, having to pay 1,700 euros in total – a 300-euro fine per person and 800-euro court costs. According to the lawyer, two of the detainees were beaten.
They are banned from entering North Macedonia for a period of 3 years.
“Both of them were blue… Georgiev clearly had a broken nose. I told them to go get a medical check. The eye was blue, the other two didn’t have many bruises on their faces… So, 300 euros each, but they took 1,700 euros in total. The other up to 1700 – court costs, I don’t know what else and they were released at 12:30-1:00 tonight. They were kept in handcuffs for 6 hours, they were beaten here – they were beaten at the checkpoint. On one his phone is gone – it’s gone. There were cameras, they were going to do an investigation… We paid a total of 1,700 euros last night with the chairman of “Vazrazhdane”, personally there at the police in Kriva Palanka. said the lawyer to the BNR correspondent Kiril Fallin.
Detainees: Around 100 Bulgarians were not allowed into North Macedonia
Around five or six o’clock there was a huge convoy of cars with Bulgarians who wanted to go to honor the memory of Gotse Delchev, over 100 people were blocked, said later on Sunday at a press conference in BTA, one of the detainees – Angel Georgiev from “Vazrazhdane” .
He said that one of the cars was searched and the entire column was deliberately delayed entering the RSM. At that moment, a Bulgarian citizen was brought into the checkpoint by the border policemen from the Republic of North Macedonia, he said.
“We started filming live video and asking why our compatriot was put there and what happens to him, why he is detained, what is the problem,” the deputy in the 48th National Assembly also pointed out. He said that the Bulgarians were ordered not to take pictures. Georgiev claims that there were also blows from the border guards. “Personally, I’ve taken a lot of hits, being one of the least beaten,” he noted. According to him, it is about aggression and violation of human rights by the authorities in North Macedonia.
According to the ex-deputy, the detained Bulgarians were handcuffed for several hours and then they were taken to the court in Kriva Palanka.
Petar Petrov described the trial against the detainees as a farce.
“Vazrazhdane” intends to refer the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, to initiate meetings with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy, Oliver Varhey. The party believes that the RSM in its current form is far from European values.
The Macedonian interior minister: We acted in a European manner
The Macedonian Minister of Internal Affairs, Oliver Spasovski, defined yesterday’s actions of law enforcement at the border post with Bulgaria as an example of how a European police operates, BGNES reported.
Throughout the day on Saturday, the Gueševo-Deve Bair border crossing point was practically closed, and hundreds of people wishing to cross the border to worship in front of Gotse Delchev’s sarcophagus in Skopje were mistreated.
“I want to congratulate and acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of all parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the exceptionally well-done operational work in ensuring security during the celebration of Gotse Delchev’s birthday,” said Spasovski emphasized: “As in front of the grave of the great Gotse in the church of St. Spas”, as well as at the border points, the Macedonian police were up to the task and successfully handled this event of the highest degree from the security point of view – a classic example of how a European-level police works”.
Spasovski “thanks to the citizens, the media and the newsmen who have shown understanding and in the most professional way possible have contributed to a dignified celebration of the great Gotse Delchev”.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia: Bulgaria did not prevent the access of radical persons
Later on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry of North Macedonia came out with a position on the case. It reproached Sofia for not making enough efforts to peacefully celebrate the anniversary.
“Despite the expressed will, the Republic of Bulgaria did not make sufficient efforts to prevent the access of radical-minded persons to the Deve Bair border crossing point, thereby enabling some of them to behave aggressively, insult and exercise violence against representatives of the border police of Northern Macedonia”, writes in the position.
“And on the eve of, but also after the celebration of 151 years since the birth of Gotse Delchev, radical-minded individuals, representatives of organizations and political parties in Bulgaria continue to make territorial claims to the Republic of North Macedonia and constantly undermine the dignity of Macedonian citizens, the Macedonian people and our country”, writes in the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Skopje.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the competent institutions of North Macedonia were obliged and took all necessary measures to prevent provocations, tension and incidents that could threaten national security, public order, people’s health and the country’s international relations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia specifies that, in accordance with established work protocols and EU standards for safe border management, some violators of public order and tranquility have been detained and handed over to the competent court, which has imposed the relevant measures, and the ministry will a letter is sent to the EP, “in which he will inform about the inappropriate and offensive behavior of the Bulgarian MEP Alexander Yordanov on social networks”.
In its position, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the RSM denies the claims that a joint celebration of Gotse Delchev has been agreed with the Republic of Bulgaria.