Gruevski will still have privileges after serving his prison sentence

Gruevski will still have privileges after serving his prison sentence
The confirmed prison sentence for former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski awaits to be transferred from the Court of Appeal to a judge for the execution of sanctions, after which the new era of the life of the once most powerful politician in the country begins. This does not mean that he will be immediately taken to prison, because there are possibilities for postponing the execution of the sanction, but his maneuver space is narrowing down. Gruevski himself has already announced that he will use all legal mechanisms to challenge the decision sentencing him to two years in prison for the acquisition of the luxury Mercedes, for which former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska was also sentenced to prison yesterday.

His lawyers have the opportunity to file a request for an extraordinary review of the verdict by the Basic Public Prosecutor's Office, citing fundamental violations and misapplication of the substantive law. If the Prosecution agrees, it will itself file a case to the Supreme Court. But this does not prevent the serving of the sentence. Gruevski could be serving his prison sentence, while the legal procedure is ongoing. If the court receives complaints and the case is returned to trial, the former prime minister will be released and he will be waiting for a retrial.

The other hope remaining is to postpone the serving of his prison sentence. Namely, he is now expecting a request to arrive to his home address indicating which day, at what time and in which prison he should report for serving the sentence. If he does not do this, the court will ask the police to detain him, and ultimately issue a warrant. However, Gruevski can request a postponement within three days after receiving the request. It should state the reasons for the postponement and provide solid evidence.

"For example, if he has personal health reasons, he must provide valid evidence from the doctors who treat him, and the judge for the enforcement of sanctions will decide whether to accept them. In such a case, the court makes a decision to postpone going to prison, whereby it is precisely stated for how much time, that is when the treatment is expected to end," the lawyers explained.

There have been comparisons with former Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski in the past few days, who was sentenced to two years in prison for the "Tank parts" case. He has not served a day of prison. He demanded the postponement of the sentence to complete the obligations of the Faculty of Law. Later, the Supreme Court accepted to postpone the execution of the final court verdict, as well as to re-examine the verdict in an extraordinary manner, allowing him to once again explain his allegations that there is no corruption deal in the "Tank parts" case. In the end, the verdict against him was abolished.

Nikola Gruevski served as president of the government from August 26, 2006 until January 18, 2016, when he was pressed to abdicate due to the so-called "bombs" that led to the Przino Agreement. Those ten years as the head in the government building on Ilinden Street brought him the opportunity for to use the benefits for a decade that all former prime ministers are entitled to.

On the principle ‘how many days spent as prime minister, that many days and benefits after the withdrawal from power’, Gruevski is entitled to six-member police security, which he chooses himself, an official vehicle and a driver. In addition, the former president of VMRO-DPMNE is also a MP in the Assembly, so there was confusion in the public that will become of the privileges when, and if, Gruevski goes to prison.

As experts explain, his post as a member of parliament is stays, Gruevski can return to the Parliament after serving the sentence, of course, if there are no new elections in the meantime.

"When it comes to other privileges, of course that he will not need security or a personal driver while he is in prison. But given that he is entitled to these benefits by law, in order for them to be abolished when he comes out of prison - the government or the Parliament will need to make a new decision," our interlocutors say.

The former government justified the decision to grant privileges to former prime ministers by strengthening the position of the most responsible in the government in the fight against criminality and corruption. The then MPs of VMRO-DPMNE argued that with such a decision they were giving support to prime ministers to uncompromisingly enter the battle against criminals, not fearing vengeance when they no longer were in power.

(GA)

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