Gruevski granted asylum

Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski confirmed on Tuesday that he has been granted asylum in Hungary.

The daily Magyar Idok reported earlier in the day that the Hungarian authorities have approved the former Macedonian PM’s asylum request. “Today, the Republic of Hungary, an EU and NATO member state, responded positively to my previously submitted request for political asylum due to political persecution in the Republic of Macedonia,” Gruevski wrote on his Facebook page.

Gruevski said he had explained to the authorities that he was seeking protection because of political persecution by Macedonia’s new social democratic government. He said he gave the authorities a detailed account of his persecution in Macedonia. Gruevski said it began with the publication of illegally obtained audio recordings. This, he said, was followed by the appointment of a special public prosecutor, who he said “became a partisan tool” of the ruling SDSM party. He said he had described to the authorities “all the injustices, irregularities, discrimination, show trials and sentences, the specific court proceedings” against him, as well as the “torture” he and his associates had to endure after the formation of the new government.

Gruevski said he had also explained how Macedonia lacks the conditions for due process and how “in the atmosphere of political persecution” the government had failed to protect him “from the numerous threats” that were directed at him. “In Macedonia, I faced judges who . were waiting for instructions on the verdict they had to deliver from the government or the special public prosecutor,” he wrote. Gruevski said the Macedonian government was using the courts to suppress political dissent and to conceal its own failings. Gruevski said Macedonians today were being oppressed and persecuted by their government. Political arrests have become commonplace and the government has taken control of the courts and the prosecutor’s office, he added.

“I decided to oppose all this, and . to take the issue to a higher level,” the former PM wrote.

“One can like me or dislike me, agree or disagree with me, think that I pursue good or bad policies, but what is happening in Macedonia right now cannot be denied or ignored.”

Gruevski insisted that he was not a fugitive from justice, but was merely seeking justice for himself and others facing persecution in his country via other international legal avenues. Gruevski wrote that he had maintained “until the last moment” that he was ready to go to jail if Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev abandoned “his destructive policies”. “But he [Zaev] obviously wants everything,” Gruevski continued. “I decided to fight and confront this coward who lazily deceives and robs his people on a daily basis and abuses the state function that he came to hold in a dishonest way,” the former PM wrote.

Opposition parties slammed the decision, saying the government and the Immigration and Asylum Office have broken Hungarian and international law. Conservative Jobbik’s Adam Mirkoczki, the head of parliament’s national security committee, called an extraordinary committee session for Wednesday morning. The interior ministry and the immigration office have broken the law by misleading committee members regarding the “Gruevski scandal”, he said in a statement to MTI. Mirkoczki said he “expected an explanation” on who was responsible for the “unprecedented lying and the deception of parliament’s most important committee”.

In a statement, the Ministry of Interior insisted that the director-general of the national immigration and asylum office had provided credible briefings on Gruevski’s asylum request. “The ministry considers unworthy and categorically rejects any political attack directed at government officials who carry out their duties in accordance with their oaths of office,” the statement said.

The Socialist Party accused Orban of turning Hungary into an immigration country that harbours convicted corrupt politicians. The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) called the news of Gruevski being granted asylum a “scandal on a global scale”. The opposition Parbeszed party said that Orban “has turned Hungary into the depository of political scum”, co-leader Timea Szabo told a press conference. The Liberal Party said that by backing Gruevski, the Hungarian government “has officially sided with a criminal”.

Source and photo: MTI

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