Thessaloniki prosecutor recommends extraditing FYROM nationals; decision on Friday

A prosecutor at the Thessaloniki Court of Appeal recommended extraditing two nationals of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), after a request was submitted by their country’s authorities over their alleged involvement in a phone tapping scandal, during the premiership of Nikola Gruevsky.

When asked why they don’t want to be extradited in FYROM, the two men said they fear for their lives and claimed they will not receive a fair trial, sources said. They have denied all charges calling their persecution as “political”.

The men, 51 and 35 years old, were arrested in Thessaloniki’s airport in October 2016, when they tried to travel to Budapest using fake Bulgarian passports. Police officers saw Interpol had issued international arrest warrants against them, according to which FYROM authorities were accusing them of “illegal surveillance through the creation of a criminal organisation” and “committing crimes of high technology” during their employment in the country’s counter-intelligence unit.

The court’s meeting was interrupted and will resume on Friday, when the final decision will be issued. The proceedings are conducted in a closed session at the request of the defense lawyers, who cited need to protect their clients. The two men have also applied for asylum in Greece.