Yet again, the Macedonian judiciary acted in an unmerciful manner. According to human rights activists, when a person has suffered through two trials and sentences, having to stand trial again for a third time is clearly a human rights violation. Indeed, things seem to be out of control. In the last ten years, His Beatitude Metropolitan-Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski of Ohrid and Skopje has been in prison six times. Now, whilst he sits in prison, the Procuratorate is starting another process against him. It seems obvious that nobody in Macedonia faced trial and imprisonment so many times in the last ten years. Undoubtedly, it’s a case of political persecution, which makes our country a semi-democratic state. On 8 June 2012, Archbishop Jovan, who has diabetes and serious spinal problems, was transferred from Idrizovo Prison to the Šuto Orizari Prison under cruel conditions… he must spend 23 hours confined to his cell, allowed only one hour of exercise each day in the fresh air. We appeal to the court to show good sense and mercy, because it’s obvious that freedom of belief doesn’t merit imprisonment in a democratic society.
In the eyes of the public, the actions of the court towards His Beatitude Metropolitan-Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski of Ohrid and Skopje are a form of torture not normally seen in 21st century Europe. Despite the fact that he was always available to the Procuratorate, as he was in Idrizovo Prison, on 8 June, they moved Archbishop Jovan to Šuto Orizari Prison, under exceptionally severe conditions. The court only allowed his mother and sister to visit Archbishop Jovan and bring him medicine and food, even though the Archbishop has serious health problems. On 11 June, since the Procuratorate started an investigation against them, the court, in a harsh ruling, prohibited both his mother and sister to visit him at the prison. Hence, no one whatsoever who’s close to Archbishop Jovan is allowed to visit him, to see if he’s healthy or if he needs anything, although the prison surely wouldn’t him to leave him to rot. Even when they punish, great civilisations show humanity, and demonstrate compassion and mercy. Unfortunately, in the case of Archbishop Jovan, due to his religious convictions, the authorities demonstrate their small-mindedness and soullessness; it’s self-evident that they mistreat Archbishop Jovan with the intent of harming him.
11/12 June 2012
Official Website of the Autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid