Monster Case Verdict: 4 of 5 Defendants Found Guilty, Given Prison Sentences

Judge Ognen Stavrev from the Skopje Criminal Court announced at a hearing on Tuesday the verdict for the Monster case. According to the verdict, defendants Alil Demiri, Afrim Ismailovic and Agim Ismailovic were sentenced to life in prison, Haki Aziri is sentenced to 9 years in prison, Fejzi Aziri is sentenced to 15 years in prison, after all of them were found guilty of the murder of 4 boys aged between 19 and 21 and a 45-year-old fisherman at the Smilkovci Lake near Skopje back in the spring of 2012, which the Court qualified as act of terrorism. The fifth defendant in this case, Sami Luta, was cleared of all charges after the Court concluded that there is not enough evidence against him in this case. In a previous trial, all 5 defendants were found guilty of terrorism and were given prison sentences, but in 2017 the Supreme Court of Macedonia overturned the verdict and restarted the entire trial, after which the case was taken over by the then functioning Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. During these events, defendants Alil Demiri and Afrim Ismailovic managed to escape to Kosovo, where they are currently serving sentences for other crimes, while the Kosovo authorities are yet to extradite them back to Macedonia.