The institutions secretly "roamed" the prison but did not discover who was digging an escape tunnel
The Basic Public Prosecutor's Office and the police are investigating which prisoners dug the tunnel in the "Idrizovo" prison that was discovered yesterday, whether someone from the prison police or from outside helped them in their escape plans, how long the digging activity lasted and other details that will lead to clearing up the case and answering all the questions that arise in connection with the planned spectacular escape from the largest prison in Macedonia. The institutions are not revealing anything more than what has already been announced regarding the found tunnel with the rationale that an investigation is underway, and details will be announced to the public after the investigative procedure is completed.
- Yesterday, the public prosecutor on duty inspected the place in the "Idrizovo" prison and the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office is taking all the necessary actions to find the perpetrators, after which the public will be notified - they told "Sloboden Pechat" from OJO.
Today, the Administration for Sanctions Enforcement and the Ministry of Internal Affairs inform about the same. According to the police, the excavation in the prison is new, it was dug for several months, and the excavated earth was taken out with buckets.
- The police, together with the Prosecutor's Office, are working to discover the perpetrators - says the spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Toni Angelovski.
After the discovery of the tunnel, the government dismissed the director of the prison Shpend Tahiri, who comes from the ranks of Alternativa, which is now in opposition, and replaced him with police major general Zoran Jovanovski.
According to what has so far been presented as a clue or information, the tunnel was dug by a group of prisoners, sentenced to high prison sentences of over 10 years, up to life imprisonment. They worked in shifts, and for their own protection against the collapse of the tunnel, they used beams and bricks to support the sides of the tunnel. The earth was brought out in buckets, and they also had electric lighting, pulled out with a cable. The tunnel started from a place that the prisoners used for walking, and the excavation almost reached the protective wall of the prison. The tunnel is about 40 meters long, about 80 centimeters wide.
It is unclear how such a large-scale and organized activity with several people involved remained unnoticed by the prison police and how the prisoners managed to leave their cells and dig for hours, without their absence being noticed by the guards.
The question arises even more, if the police and other security institutions for a certain period of time previously carried out intensified checks on the allegations that a group escape from the prison was being prepared, how then did they discover only the tunnel, and not who dug it.
Interestingly, this case is not the first of its kind in Macedonia. Former intelligence officer Aleksandar Dinevski wrote on "Facebook" yesterday that a similar bid, but a successful one, took place half a century ago.
– A group of prisoners, voluntarily engaged in the drama section of the prison, dug a tunnel that started under the stage in the hall where they practiced drama and got out through the high walls of the prison. The escaped convicts were never found! Dinev wrote.
Under his post, former prisoners from "Idrizovo", on the other hand, raised doubts that it was not a dug escape tunnel, but a hole from the collapsed infrastructure, from an old pipe, and that probably someone got in to see where the hole went and made it. drama. According to the former prisoners, it is impossible for someone to dig in the indicated place, and no one sees and reports the diggers, and it is especially impossible for someone to dig there for four or five months, as they say.
The spokesman of the Ministry of the Interior Toni Angelovski informed yesterday that the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Security Bureau in coordination with the National Security Agency prevented an organized escape from "Idrizovo".
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs, after receiving forensic information that a group of at least eight convicted persons serving prison terms in Idrizovo prison, convicted of serious crimes with certain sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, are preparing to escape from prison by digging a tunnel, conducted criminal operational activities at verification of the information, after which it was shared with the Administration for the Execution of Sanctions. After submitting the information to the Administration, they carried out checks on the place that was indicated as a potential tunnel, during which it was established the existence of an excavated tunnel with a length of about 40 meters, located next to a facility that was used for the disposal of coal in the direction of the protective fence behind which the women's ward is located, and adjacent to the building of the closed ward of the prison, at a depth of about one meter, in diameter about 80 centimeters, adequately secured with cross beams and bricks. Several plastic baskets with ropes tied to them were found in the tunnel, which were used to pull out the excavated soil, and an electric cable with a light bulb that was used to light the tunnel - the police said.
The version of the Administration for the Execution of Sanctions is a little different and according to their statement, they have been closely monitoring what is happening in the prison for the last two months.
- The administration, in coordination with KPD Idrizovo and the security authorities, and based on collected information about the security situation in "Idrizovo", which indicated a suspicion that convicted persons are undertaking illegal activities in order to create conditions for an organized escape, in the past two months raised the level of security in order to get more detailed information and check its reliability. As a result of these activities, a potential place from where convicted persons could carry out such plans was detected in the circle of the closed ward, and security was further strengthened there. Due to the fact that these are old hard construction buildings that are out of use, after a public procurement procedure, a company with appropriate activity was selected for the demolition of the mentioned buildings. After an agreement was reached with the Ministry of Interior to provide assistance in the implementation, on 21.03.2023 at 7 o'clock the demolition of the detected buildings was started. At the same time, several excavations were made in the area of the department, during which an unfinished underground tunnel was found on the way from the buildings that are collapsing to the fence wall - the Administration announced, among other things.
The Alternative party, on the other hand, responded today that the replaced director, Tahiri, who is their staff, was the one who discovered the escape plan.
- Yesterday's action in the "Idrizovo" prison, which resulted in the discovery of a tunnel that was dug for a long time for the prisoners to escape, is precisely the result of the involvement of the director of the prison, who is from Alternative, Shpend Tahiri. To say that the director was removed as a punishment is not only inappropriate, but also ungrateful to the man who worked until the last day of his job without a single affair. Thanks to the conscientious management of the prison institution by Tahiri, countless attempts to escape and introduce narcotics into the prison circle were discovered, caught and sanctioned - say among other things from Alternativa, without mentioning that during the directorship of their director in January the spectacular escape of Bekim Memeti while being transported in a prison van, when he wounded a prison guard.