Deutsche Welle: Hungary Helped Gruevski Escape from Macedonia?
According to Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), Hungary may have not only aided former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski in his departure from Albania, but it may have also played a role in his escape from Macedonia as well. Meanwhile, the Hungarian government claims that the information of DW is untrue.
Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski fled his country under controversial circumstances and arrived in Budapest earlier this month, seeking political asylum after failing to show up to begin a two-year prison sentence for corruption. He was granted asylum in Hungary following – an unusually quick – five-day procedure.
Previously, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó admitted that the staff of the Hungarian Embassy aided Nikola Gruevski’s escape from Macedonia to Hungary via Albania, Montenegro and Serbia. Now, according to research conducted by Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, it seems that Hungary also helped the Former PM illegally cross the Macedonia-Albania border.
Quoting interviews conducted with Gruevski’s neighbors in Marriott Hotel Skopje, DW writes: “Gruevski was seen leaving the Marriott Hotel in the evening hours of November 8. The hotel belongs to his cousin Saso Mijalkov, the country’s former and much-feared intelligence chief, who was arrested on November 21.” They added that:
Various sources have confirmed that Hungarian diplomatic vehicles based in Serbia were repeatedly seen in the Marriott’s underground garage over the past three weeks, which could mean Hungarian diplomats helped Gruevski plan his escape.”
According to television station Aslat-M, it is likely the whole plan was arranged months before Gruevski fled Macedonia as he allegedly emptied all of his Macedonian bank accounts around September after accusing the Macedonian government of political persecution.
However, the Hungarian government claims that Hungary was not involved in Gruevski’s escape from Macedonia to Albania. Minister of Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás insisted that Hungary had “not violated the sovereignty of any country” and “had no role” in Gruevski fleeing from his country.
The Hungarian minister also said that Gruevski – by holding refugee status – has a right to free movement within the European Union and he did “not receive daily reports” concerning the whereabouts of Gruevski, adding that the former Macedonian Prime Minister is not ensured personal protection, only “services due to refugees under the law.” Gulyás added that according to legislative rules, there is an automatic asylum review after an extradition request, after which the Minister of Justice may initiate proceedings at the court to decide on the extradition, however, the final word is the Minister’s. Gulyás added that no-one questioned the government’s decisions when American-friendly Georgian politicians – who are still living in Hungary – were granted asylum.