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Macedonian Opposition Leader Accuses Authorities Of Wiretapping

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (left) and opposition leader Zoran Zaev.

The leader of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) has reiterated an earlier claim that implicates the government in tapping phones and eavesdropping on the conversations of thousands of people.

During a news conference on February 15, Zoran Zaev released what he described as five phone conversations illegally tapped by authorities.

Zaev claimed that, in one of the conversations, the director of the Secret Police, Sasho Mijalkov, and Deputy Prime Minister Musa Djaferi discussed potential candidates for the post of head of Macedonia's Supreme Court.

According to Zaev, Mijalkov and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski had authorized the phone-tapping.

Zaev said he obtained the tapes from "patriots" working in the Macedonian intelligence service.

On January 31, the government accused Zaev of espionage and detained five people in connection with that case.

The government also claims that Zaev attempted to blackmail the prime minister, telling Gruevski that, if a technical government was not formed and early elections called, the SDSM leader would publish incriminating material that showed the premier was guilty of abuse of power.