admin1 – October 21, 2013 – 1:18pm

The Judicial Council of the Criminal Court in Skopje sentenced Nova Makedonija’s journalist Tomislav Kezarovski Monday to four and a half years in prison for revealing the identity of a protected witness in the case Orese with his reports published in the newspaper Reporter 92 in 2008.

The other indictees in the case Liquidation, including judges, lawyers and prosecutors, were all handed down imprisonment sentences of 1 to 5 years. In their closing statements, they all pleaded not guilty.

Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, expressed deep concern about the sentencing of journalist Tomislav Kezarovski to four and a half years in prison.

“I am appalled by today’s sentence. This excessive conviction is a worrying development and sends a clear message of censorship to other journalists in the country. Today’s verdict has serious consequences for free expression and media freedom. Criminal prosecution of reporters for their journalistic activities violates the fundamental human right to free expression and the country’s OSCE commitments to develop and protect free media,” Mijatović said.