North Macedonia’s Zaev Condemned for Calling Detainee “Faggot”

North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has come under fire for calling the detained celebrity-turned-businessman Bojan Jovanovski, the central figure in the ongoing "Extortion" scandal, a "faggot".

His use of the abusive term has been widely condemned by human rights organisations and media associations in the country.

At a celebration on Tuesday night in the capital, Skopje, at which he took questions about the ongoing "Extortion" case, the centre-left Prime Minister said he was firmly committed to the fight against corruption.

But he controversially added that he would not allow "a few criminals, one vain journalist and, I apologize in advance to the LGBTI community, a faggot, to topple the government".

In his apology delivered later that evening, Zaev claimed that the term he used, "Peder" [Faggot], was a popular colloquial term used to describe a deceitful, sleazy person, and was not intended to refer to anyone's sexual orientation.

Zaev said he was all for gay rights. "The LGBTI community has my greatest respect. That's why, before using the word 'peder' I directed my apologies," he said.

"I used this word to describe a character trait and not to describe sexual orientation. Apologies to LGBTI people. I will fight for their rights, as I did so far", Zaev wrote on Twitter.

The head of North Macedonia's Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Uranija Pirovska, said she was not impressed.

"So much for acceptance of differences and respect for them!" Pirovska wrote on Facebook, adding that the LGBTI community would not easily forgive Zaev for uttering such a statement.

Zaev's language was also slated by media organizations, not only for using the derogatory term to describe Jovanovski - who was well known in...

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