SKOPJE, North Macedonia

A court in North Macedonia has jailed seven citizens, accusing them of fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Six men were given six-year sentences for joining IS, while a seventh man was jailed for nine years after also being found guilty on charges of organizing a terrorist group.

The suspects were arrested last August in Syria by international coalition forces and later handed over to Macedonian authorities.

It was the second group from North Macedonia sentenced for joining and recruiting IS fighters. In March 2016, six people, including a Muslim preacher were sentenced from five to seven years in prison.

According to police, about 150 of the country’s citizens have joined Islamic State extremists.

Source: Fox News World

Officials in North Macedonia say seven of the country’s nationals have pleaded guilty to joining the Islamic State group and fighting with it in Syria and Iraq.

The North Macedonian prosecutor’s office said late Tuesday the men on trial in a Skopje criminal court were arrested last August in Syria by members of the international coalition fighting IS.

They were subsequently handed over to North Macedonian law enforcement agencies.

All were charged with membership of an extremist group, while one also allegedly recruited for IS.

If convicted, they face up to five years in jail.

The prosecutor’s office said verdicts will be announced on Thursday.

North Macedonian authorities say more than 130 of the country’s nationals have joined IS. The predominantly Orthodox Christian Balkan state has a large Muslim minority.

Source: Fox News World

Police in North Macedonia say they have arrested a man suspected of smuggling five migrants from Greece, headed north toward Serbia.

Police said Saturday that one Afghan citizen and four Pakistanis were discovered during a routine checkup on a car late Thursday on the main north-south highway. The suspect, a North Macedonian, was identified only by his initials as E.E. An investigative judge has ordered him detained for 30 days, pending trial.

Trafficking migrants from Greece to wealthier western European countries is still happening in North Macedonia, even though the so-called Balkan route of migrant trafficking into Europe has been officially closed since mid-2015.

Source: Fox News World

A public prosecutor’s office in North Macedonia says six people have been detained following a preliminary investigation into a bus crash that killed 15 people and seriously injured 39 others.

The office said Thursday that the suspects include the bus driver and owner of the private transportation company. They were detained on suspicion of gross negligence, endangering public safety and other offences. The charges carry a combined penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

In the Feb. 13 accident, the bus carrying mostly students and office workers from Skopje to the western town of Gostivar drove off the highway embankment and overturned.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the preliminary investigation had found evidence that the bus had exceeded the speed limit and had a defective braking system.

Source: Fox News World

Election authorities in North Macedonia have confirmed three candidates for the April 21 presidential elections, including a law professor running as the first female candidate in the newly renamed country.

Center-left candidate Stevo Pendarovski is facing conservative professor Gordana Siljanovska Davkova for the largely ceremonial post. Blerim Reka, representing two small ethnic Albanian parties, is also running.

Incumbent conservative President Gjorge Ivanov will serve out his second five-year term through May 12. He fiercely opposed a deal between his country’s social democrat government and neighbor Greece to change the country’s name from Macedonia to North Macedonia, ending a decades-old dispute.

On Wednesday, State Election Commission spokeswoman Ljupka Gugucevska told the AP that all three candidates had gathered the required 10,000 signatures to be eligible in the election.

Source: Fox News World

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