The Skopje Criminal Court issued an order yesterday to arrest former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who did not hand himself to the authorities on Friday for serving his two-year prison sentence in the Sutka penitentiary. The court also asked to issue an arrest warrant for Gruevski, and the Ministry of Interior, as it is stated, already acted upon the court order.
“We are informing you that the Basic Court Skopje 1 issued an arrest order and on 12.11.2018 at 16:30 it was submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Skopje and requested the issuance of an arrest warrant. The Ministry of Interior, immediately after being served, acted on the order,” the court informed. The court said that the arrest warrant for Gruevski was not an international one. The Ministry of Interior confirmed that they acted according to the court order.
Judicial services yesterday tried to find the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and to hand him a decision calling him to serve his two-year prison sentence. Gruevski, who has put many public figures in prison with such ease during his rule, has been hiding for three days and has trouble facing his own prison sentence.
If the decision is not delivered to him today, an arrest warrant is likely to be issued. According to Deutsche Welle sources, Gruevski has not fled the country, and political affiliates close to him are trying to portray him as a victim of political persecution.
Some media speculated yesterday that Gruevski is missing, but has not been reported missing because the whole of this political drama about his imprisonment is unprecedented in Macedonia so far. Namely, Zoran Zaev, Vlado Buckovski and other lower officials in Macedonia did not run away from their prison sentences, although the case with the two missing intelligence officers in Greece showed that this is not an impossible mission.
“We publish people who are reported missing in newsletters. This person is not published in today’s newsletter and in the MOI newsletters for Sunday and Saturday,” the Interior Ministry said.
Analyst Sefer Tahiri told Radio Free Europe assessed that his party has built a cult around Gruevski and that is why he has a hard time facing the new reality. He also highlighted several previous reports from the former prime minister in which he pointed out that he was ready to sacrifice himself for the state. Before the formation of this government, when the possible coalition talks between VMRO-DPMNE and DUI fell through, Gruevski said that if he wanted Zaev to harass and arrest them, he volunteered to be the first to be arrested, as long as Zaev leaves the country alone. However, in the past few days on his Facebook page he wrote a message to the government saying that people go to prison and come out of prison, but when one loses his dignity, it is lost forever.”
“All of this does not allow him to come and face the citizens and ask for their support because he has stated earlier that he was ready for anything,” Tahiri said.
According to Vladimir Bozinovski from the Institute for Political Research Skopje, it was still early to draw any conclusions.
Meanwhile, VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski in an interview with Kurir said that a political witch-hunt is being conducted against Gruevski.
“This case is politically motivated because Gruevski is innocent, and he is being held accountable for a case where there is no financial damage, and the vehicle is now being used by the Government. They first said that they would sell it, they would use the money, but it seems that they find it useful. And I cannot approve of a political witch-hunt conducted by the captured ‘Kacarska Judiciary'”, said Mickoski.
Gruevski’s team of attorneys has already exhausted all legal possibilities for him not to go to prison, so now President Gjorge Ivanov’s pardon remains his only hope. This is also the hope of the initiative Justice for Nikola Gruevski (Pravda za Nikola Gruevski), which has urged President Ivanov in the past few days to use his constitutionally guaranteed right and protect the innocent citizens who are charged in this persecution.
Gruevski was sentenced to two years in prison in the case dubbed Tank, that is, illegal purchase of a luxury bulletproof vehicle Mercedes that cost 570 thousand euros.
There are four other cases against Gruevski in which he is accused of abuse of office, electoral fraud, criminal association and incitement to violence. These are the SPO cases dubbed Titanic, TNT, Trajectory and Centar Violence.