Macedonia: Bishop kept in jail despite deal to release him

The Basic Public Prosecutor's Office in Skopje has filed a complaint against a decision to release Bishop of Ohrid Jovan, thus keeping him in jail.

Source: Beta

Previously, a court decided that Bishop Jovan should be granted conditional release, and set free on January 19.

According to the media in the Macedonian capital, the turning point came "at the last minute." The bishop is serving a sentence for embezzling EUR 250,000, and was put on trial on charges brought by the canonically unrecognized Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC).

Jovan Vraniskovski was a member of the MPC, but later joined "the canonical unity with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC)," and is now the head of "the Serbian Church in Macedonia," the Beta agency said in its report on Tuesday.

The announcement of the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption states that it believes the circumstances of the decision to release him should be reexamined, as well as "whether the objectives the release would be achieved."

It also states that that the prosecution believes there is evidence of "changed circumstances which indicate that the convicted person in the future may continue to commit criminal acts and therefore does not justify the trust shown toward him when granting the provisional release."

The same basic public prosecutor's office said in a statement on January 12, after receiving the ruling to set Vraniskovski free, that it, "after analyzing the circumstances, determined that the solution was lawful", announcing at the same time "it would not appeal against the decision."

The Macedonian Orthodox Church, that sued the bishop, is now in favor of his release. After the mediation of the Russian Orthodox Church in late 2014, the MPC called on the government to "show mercy" toward Vraniskovski.

The ailing bishop was recently briefly taken to a hospital in Skopje.

After the announcement that he would be released "for good behavior", the SPC in Macedonia said it seeks his "unconditionally acquittal of all charges."

The SPC believes that the bishop's incarceration was a consequence of political decisions, namely because of the dispute between the churches. The Serbian Church does not recognize the MPC as autocephalous.


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Region Tuesday, January 27, 2015 11:41 Comments: 14
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