The national police (ORFK) have dropped an investigation into the issues surrounding former North Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s flight to Hungary, wire service MTI reported.
The investigation, launched in December of last year “under suspicion of human smuggling and other crimes against an unidentified perpetrator,” was terminated due to a lack of criminal activity. The police insist that the Hungarian authorities haven’t broken any laws.
Gruevski held office between 2006 and 2016 but had to resign after it was revealed that he ordered the wiretapping of more than 20,000 Macedonians. Then, on November 12 of last year, an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to begin a two-year prison sentence for corruption. Two days later, he announced on his Facebook page that he was in Budapest and had submitted a request for political asylum. An international arrest warrant was issued in Skopje on the same day, and five days later, he announced he had been granted asylum status in Hungary.
Amid Growing International Uproar, Macedonia Demands Gruevski’s Extradition
Not surprisingly, the case drew controversies both domestically and internationally. Critics say that while the Hungarian government rigorously peddles anti-immigration rhetoric, it takes no issue with providing defense for a convicted criminal. Many have speculated that Russian President Vladimir Putin, an ally of Gruevski, may have played a role in his arrival.
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Although government officials initially denied any involvement, Western media outlets and certain Balkan countries have since revealed evidence to the contrary. FM Péter Szijjártó then admitted and confirmed that Hungarian diplomats accompanied ex-Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on his journey through the Balkan countries. The government, however, still insists that neither the Hungarian state nor Hungarian authorities assisted Nikola Gruevski in leaving his country.
The Orbán administration insists that relevant procedures have been conducted in line with Hungarian and international law. Government officials claim that “the migration issue and the Soros lobby” are behind the push to “oust and convict” Gruevski — a reason for which they believe the case warrants a special procedure.
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The ORFK states that Gruevski was in possession of valid travel documents when crossing each border. As leftist daily Népszava notes, however, questions pertaining to the nature of Gruevksi’s arrival remain unanswered. For example, it’s unclear which documents Gruevksi had, considering his passport had been reclaimed by the North Macedonian authorities beforehand. The identity of whoever exempted Gruevksi from having to wait in the Röszke Transit Zone for his asylum application is also a mystery. The Hungarian authorities approved his application at an unprecedented speed without explanation and no one appears to have any knowledge of what evidence of persecution Gruevksi could have presented which would have been accepted.