US State Department joins in condemnation of the lack of religious freedom in FYROM

The Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor published the annual report on the situation with the respect of religious freedom in the FYR Macedonia in the course of 2006.
There is an impression that the greater art of the report has been dedicated to the denial of religious freedom to the citizens, members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

FYR. Macedonia has religious prisoners.

The report deals with the imprisonment of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, k. k. Jovan implying that with the decision of the Supreme Court from February 2006, his prison sentence was reduced “which led to his release from prison, after which there were no cases of religious or political prisoners in the country”. We remind you that the Archbishop k. k. Jovan, after two releasing verdicts, has once again been put in prison, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church has once again filed a complaint against the liberating verdict reached regarding a third charge raised against him. The indicated proverbial corruption of the Macedonian judiciary is not subject to comment in this observation .

Police coercion and denial of religious freedom may be noticed in the following quotation: “In October 2004 policemen demolished a small monastery that was being built by members of the “Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid” in Nizepole, near Bitola. The organization’s lawyer conceded that the monastery was being constructed without a permit but noted that other buildings in the area, also built without permits, were not destroyed. At the end of the period covered by this report, the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) was unable to obtain a copy of the decision by the competent ministry authorizing the monastery’s destruction.”