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Authorities in North Macedonia say 17 police officers serving at a prison in the country’s capital Skopje were detained Monday on suspicion of assisting in the separate escapes last year of two inmates, including a murder convict.

The office of public prosecution said six of the officers are suspected of involvement in the escape last October by the murder convict during a scheduled visit to a private hospital.


“Accompanied by two of the suspected prison officers, the (inmate) visited a smoking area. After about half an hour, the suspected prison officials left, allowing the convict to leave the room and escape,” the prosecution office said in a statement Monday.

Macedonian flag

A large Macedonian flag flies in Skopje, North Macedonia, Sept. 28, 2018. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

It said the two officers and their four on-duty colleagues had failed to report the escape to their superiors at the city’s Idrizovo prison. The incident was later discovered by other police officers who reported to a separate department, and the convict remains at large.

Prosecutors recommended that the six accused police office be held in pre-trial detention.

In the second case, 11 police officers are accused of allowing an inmate to leave a hospital during a visit to the facility last year, though the inmate later returned to the facility.


All of the officers under investigation face up to five years in prison if convicted on the charges they are currently facing, which include dereliction of duty and assisting in the escape of an incarcerated person.

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