Former Macedonian PM ‘granted asylum’ in Hungary

Hungarian newspaper Magyar Idok has reported that former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has been granted asylum in Hungary.

Mr Gruevski was found guilty in May of illegally soliciting the secret purchase of a Mercedes worth almost 600,000 euros from former Macedonian Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska. He was meant to present himself to the Macedonian authorities on November 9, but did not show up. Instead, he fled via Serbia – whose president, Aleksandar Vučić, said on November 20 that it was aware of his presence in the country but saw no reason to arrest him – to Hungary.

Transparency International has urged the Hungarian government to extradite former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who is seeking asylum in Budapest in order to avoid two years imprisonment after being convicted for corruption.

“This situation is a big test for the Macedonian and Hungarian authorities and needs to be addressed in accordance with Hungarian law,” said Slagjana Taseva, chair of Transparency International Macedonia.

“Both countries should uphold the rule of law and Nikola Gruevski must be held accountable to the citizens of Macedonia for his corrupt acts during his time as prime minister,” said Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International. “No politician should be allowed to get away with corruption charges, particularly after the courts have clearly ruled in favour of conviction.”

“The Hungarian authorities should act according to European and international judicial regulations and standards. Once a politician is convicted by an independent court, none of the governments should provide them escape route and impunity,” added József Péter Martin, executive director of Transparency International Hungary.

In the meantime, the Macedonian State Secretary Viktor Dimovski summoned Hungary’s ambassador to Skopje, László Dux, to formally demand that the government in Budapest reject an asylum application lodged by the fugitive former prime minister. The Hungarian authorities have yet to confirm the reports that Mr Gruevski has indeed been granted asylum.

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