April 17, 2024

17.04.2024 – Journalist Furkan Saliu Detained

On 7 April 7 2024 around 5pm, journalist Furkan Saliu, who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of PortaliX (https://portalix.mk/), was detained for several hours by special police forces in the village of Konjare / Konyare (Коњаре), North Macedonia following a football match. He was taken to the Gazi Baba / Avtokomanda police station in the capital Skopje.

Details surrounding the incident are still emerging, and PortaliX has condemned Saliu’s arrest as a targeted effort to intimidate free journalism. The video from the moment when the police reacted is online: https://www.youtube.com/shorts/-A3rVq9M5IQ?feature=share

Saliu himself, in a statement expressed regret for potentially contributing to the escalation of the situation leading to his detention. He denied any assault on the police and clarified that the weapon found in his vehicle was licensed. Despite this, the police confiscated his phone and keys during the arrest.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that the police intervened to quell a confrontation between home team fans and visiting players, during which two individuals, including Saliu, allegedly attacked police officers. Subsequently, Saliu was taken into custody, but later released the same night.

Furthermore, conflicting reports emerged regarding the circumstances of Saliu’s arrest, with alleging excessive use of force by the police. Witnesses at the football match claimed that Saliu alleged intervened after the police started beating an young person with no reasons, which Saliu recorded with his mobile phone.

The incident has sparked widespread condemnation from opposition parties and journalists’ associations, who demand an impartial investigation into the events leading to his arrest.

Interior Minister defended the police’s actions, stating that Saliu was detained for allegedly assaulting police officers and urged the public to allow law enforcement to conduct their duties without interference.

As the situation unfolds, stakeholders emphasize the importance of upholding press freedom and ensuring the protection of journalists’ rights in Macedonia.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) will follow the case closely. SEEMO urges the authorities to ensure transparency and accountability in handling this case, to respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression, and to refrain from any actions that may intimidate or hinder the work of journalists.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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