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North Macedonian far-right leader arrested in Turkey in murder case

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A far-right party leader in North Macedonia suspected in a double murder including a 14-year-old girl was arrested in Turkey late Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported, citing officials.

Ljupco Palevski, the alleged organizer of the killings, was arrested in the northwestern city of Balıkesir where he arrived through Serbia and Bulgaria, police said.

In the case that shocked the Balkan nation, the bodies of a girl from the capital Skopje, who disappeared last week, and of a 74-year-old man from the central town of Veles, who went missing a few days before her, were found on Sunday.

“Colleagues from Turkey have informed me that the creator, planner, main coordinator and direct executor is arrested on their territory,” North Macedonia’s Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said at a late-night press conference.

According to the police, four people were involved in both crimes, including the girl’s father.

Spasovski told reporters that one of the arrested suspects, in “agreement and with knowledge of a family member, organized the execution of the crime in order to extort money from her mother.”

Palevski is a well-known public figure and leader of a minor radical right-wing political party.

In recent years, the former businessman and media owner has been involved in pro-Russian activities.

According to the investigators, the murdered 74-year-old man owed money to one of the suspects and was a collateral victim because his car was used to abduct the girl.

The car was later found burned close to where the girl’s body was found.

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