While the Alpha police unit along with the journalists knocked on his door and looked for former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski so he could be taken to the Sutka penitentiary, and searched the trunks of cars that entered the headquarters of VMRO-DPMNE, Gruevski announced that he had left for Budapest, to his close friend Viktor Orban.
“In the last few days I have received countless life threats. I am in Budapest now, and I sought political asylum from the Hungarian authorities. I will always remain true to the cause of Macedonia. I will never give up.” This message was posted on the former prime minister’s Facebook page.
Since Friday evening, when the criminal council rejected the latest appeal by Gruevski, the whole Macedonian public was kept in limbo and the main question was where Nikola Gruevski is. The media stood and waited in front of the Sutka prison for him to come, however, on Monday evening, television stations broadcast live as that the police were looking for former Prime Minister Gruevski. Although there were indications that Gruevski could escape, the court did not issue a warrant to him until the last minute, and the police did not take measures to secure him. The court’s decision to reject the appeals was made at the same time as the richest Macedonian, Orce Kamcev, was brought to court and the same evening he was taken to Sutka.
The former prime minister was guarded by six bodyguards, who last left him at his home on Thursday at 11 pm, a day before the court began looking for him.
Now that Gruevski is a bit far from Sutka, no institution has taken responsibility that he did not end up in prison, they all blame someone else. Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski pointed his finger at the court. According to him, the court erred because it did not order detention for Gruevski.
“I’m thinking about the responsibility of those who are being detained for people who are a flight risk. These persons can freely move across the country and do their job, but when the judgment is passed they are not detained, although charged for a number of crimes. Detention is ruled in theft and robbery cases, but not for severe offences. The police is operating upon the orders issued by the court and cannot follow anyone all the time just because of the court proceedings against this person.
Therefore, there are security measures,” Spasovski said.
Spasovski officially said that the services were not following by Gruevski although the Special Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted him for dozens of crimes.
“This is a violation of the law. If we continue to follow as it had been done before, then we have a serious problem,”Spasovski said.
However, the first person of the Criminal Court, Ivan Djolev, did not feel responsible and the Ministry of Interior said that the police, on the order of the prosecutor’s office can take measures for surveillance of certain person.
They say that the Court can not order detention on its own, and in the case of Tank, the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office did not request it at all.
“The competent prosecution has not requested an order for stricter measure, as a measure of detention at any time for the accused Nikola Gruevski, which again it was not the case with the first defendant for whom the prosecution at the pronouncement of the first instance verdict suggested and the court ordered detention until the verdict becomes effective,” the Court said.
Although in this case the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office did not seek detention for Gruevski, detention was requested for other cases in which he was charged, but the court rejected the request. He had certain precautionary measures for the ‘Titanic’ case.
He had an obligation to appear in court once a month and the last time he reported on November 2. His personal and diplomatic passport is in court and, so if he escaped, he definitely crossed the borders illegally.
However, an international arrest warrant for Gruevski has not yet been announced, the court is waiting for the competent authorities to determine whether he really is in Budapest.
The Interior Ministry still does not know if Gruevski really escaped, only that they found that the Facebook profile is really managed by Gruevski, but they are still checking whether Gruevski wrote the announcement and the location where it was written.
If it is officially confirmed that Gruevski has fled, the Ministry of Justice will submit a request for extradition after receiving a notification from the Ministry of Interior where he is located and that an international arrest warrant has been issued for him.
This is the fourth escape from justice of defendants in the cases of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. The main suspects in the mass wiretapping scandal in Macedonia, Goran Grujovski and Nikola Boskoski, are walking freely in Greece. Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski transferred the blame to others then as well, but then it was to the Supreme Court with the explanation that the court was waiting until the last minute to decide on the appeal for their lifting of the detention. The first person of the Supreme Court, Jovo Vangelovski, says that his conscience is clear and that there are organs in the country that are responsible for accessibility and unavailability of citizens.
This game by the authorities is raising doubt whether anyone from the previous government will be held accountable for the offenses for which they are being charged. The public for months listened to the tapped conversations that were announced by the current Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. He accused of regime, crime, stealing the citizens’ money, but after three years since the publication of the so-called “bombs”, there is no responsibility for officials from the previous government. Zaev also announced the re-election of judges, then changed his mind, so for now the same judges will have to make the key decisions with minor shifts.
Neither confirmation nor denial from Hungary
Immediately after the news that Gruevski is in Budapest, the journalists’ crews headed to the Hungarian Embassy in Skopje, but they ran into closed doors. Then representatives of the Hungarian Embassy came out with a brief announcement that basically confirmed that Gruevski was in Budapest.
“We can neither confirm nor deny this information. We are not able to comment on individual asylum requests that are still processed until they are completed,” the Embassy said.
Yesterday there was also silence from the European Commission from Brussels, the US Embassy and the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior and Foreign Affairs.
Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs came out with vague information confirming that Gruevski was seeking asylum in Hungary.
“Regarding the alleged information posted on Mr. Nikola Gruevski’s Facebook page that he was in Budapest and that he has sought asylum in Hungary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the competent institutions in the Republic of Macedonia, acts in accordance with its legal competencies in the direction of verifying this information,” said the MFA.
Frosina Fakova – Serafinovic