Macedonia's prisoners ask for presidential pardons

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2016 12:52 PM

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Nearly 2,000 prisoners in Macedonia have called on President Gjorge Ivanov to grant them partial pardons reducing their sentences, after he pardoned dozens of members of the country's political elite last week over a wiretapping scandal.

Zvonko Davidovic, a lawyer whose office is representing convicts pro bono, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the prisoners asked for Ivanov to show "mercy" and reduce sentences from one third to half, or for life sentences to be converted to 15-20 years. He said the pardoning only of politicians puts ordinary people at a disadvantage.

Ivanov issued pardons for politicians, including former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and opposition leader Zoran Zaev, ahead of June 5 early elections. The move prompted daily protests.

Davidovic said 3,152 prisoners are in overcrowded Macedonian jails.