Vladimir Atanasovski, the former director of the secret services of Macedonia was arrested on Tuesday night following allegations that he organised an armed attack on the Macedonian parliament that injured 100 people in April 2017.
According to Serbian media, Atanasovski’s detention was requested by the prosecutor for organised crime, Vilma Ruskovska, after two suspects on trial for taking part in the attack named the former head of the Directorate of Security and Counter-Intelligence Affairs (UBK) as one of the masterminds behind it. The suspects also named the former head of the UBK’s wiretapping service, Nikolai Boskovsky and the adviser to the president of Macedonia, Sinisa Aleksoski, as co-conspirators.
The attack on parliament took place as the outgoing VMRO-DPMNE was due to hand over the reigns of government to the Social Democratic Union (SDSM). Around 200 supporters of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE stormed the building just before the new majority in parliament elected its first ethnic Albanian speaker. Masked protesters threw chairs and punches at journalists and MPs, injuring SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, before police used stun grenades to break up the mob.
Balkan Insight reports that 28 people were charged with “terrorist endangerment of the constitutional order and security” last March, including VMRO-DPMNE MPs and former police officials.
Vladimir Atanasovski was head of UBK from the beginning of September 2016, a few months before the elections in which VMRO-DPMNE lost power amid a wiretapping scandal and swirling corruption allegations. Last month, former VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski, who was due to serve a two-year sentence for abuse of power, fled to Hungary to seek political asylum and avoid prison.
Gruevski is also at the centre of four other investigations for corruption during his time as prime minister.
Atanasovski, who currently serves as a security advisor to Hristijan Mickoski, Nikola Grueski’s successor as the head of VMRO-DPMNE was remanded in custody for 30 days by a court in Skopje. If found guilty, he faces up to four years in prison.