A Macedonian investigative journalist has gone on hunger strike today, in protest against his continued detention.
The wife of Tomislav Kezarovski told local media that both she and her jailed husband are now on hunger strike, in hopes that it will call attention to his “absurd” situation.
Kezarovski has been held in Skopje’s Shutka prison since May, for a 2008 article he wrote for Reporter 92 magazine, for supposedly revealing the identity of a protected witness in an an ongoing murder investigation. However, in February this year the witness confessed that his testimony against the accused killers was fabricated, and that he did not have protected status until 2010.
Skopje criminal court decided in June to extend the journalist’s detention by 30 days, saying that if released, he may “escape or influence other witnesses” in a wider investigation. The court will decide this week whether or not he will be held for another 30 days. Since the investigation is now over, Kezarovski’s family members hope that he will be released.
The Macedonian Journalists Association, the Trade Union of Macedonian Journalists and Media Workers, SSNM, ZNM, and the Macedonian Institute for Media expressed “deep concern” over the journalist’s “fragile physical and mental” condition in a joint statement released today. In June, UN Rapporteur for free speech Frank LaRue was prevented from visiting Kezarovski in prison.
Reporters Without Borders has condemned the arrest of the journalist, as well as the “constant decline in freedom of information in Macedonia”, which ranks 116 out of 179 in the organisation’s 2013 press freedom index.
Sara Yasin is an Editorial Assistant at Index. She tweets from @missyasin