Hungary’s authorities have granted former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski refugee status, daily Magyar Idők reported online on Tuesday.
The immigration office has not confirmed the report, saying that information could only be shared with those involved in the process or with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Magyar Idők said on its website.
“Today, the Republic of Hungary, an EU and NATO member state, responded positively to my previously submitted request for political asylum due to political persecution in the Republic of Macedonia,” Gruevski wrote on his Facebook page.
Gruevski said he had explained to the authorities that he was seeking protection because of political persecution by Macedonia’s new social democratic government.
He said he gave the authorities a detailed account of his persecution in Macedonia. Gruevski said it began with the publication of illegally obtained audio recordings. This, he said, was followed by the appointment of a special public prosecutor, who he said “became a partisan tool” of the ruling SDSM party. He said he had described to the authorities “all the injustices, irregularities, discrimination, show trials and sentences, the specific court proceedings” against him, as well as the “torture” he and his associates had to endure after the formation of the new government.
Gruevski said he had also explained how Macedonia lacks the conditions for due process and how “in the atmosphere of political persecution” the government had failed to protect him “from the numerous threats” that were directed at him.
“In Macedonia, I faced judges who were waiting for instructions on the verdict they had to deliver from the government or the special public prosecutor,” he wrote.
Gruevski said the Macedonian government was using the courts to suppress political dissent and to conceal its own failings.
Gruevski said Macedonians today were being oppressed and persecuted by their government. Political arrests have become commonplace and the government has taken control of the courts and the prosecutor’s office, he added.
“I decided to oppose all this, and to take the issue to a higher level,” the former PM wrote. “One can like me or dislike me, agree or disagree with me, think that I pursue good or bad policies, but what is happening in Macedonia right now cannot be denied or ignored.”
Gruevski insisted that he was not a fugitive from justice, but was merely seeking justice for himself and others facing persecution in his country via other international legal avenues.
Gruevski wrote that he had maintained “until the last moment” that he was ready to go to jail if Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev abandoned “his destructive policies”. “But he [Zaev] obviously wants everything,” Gruevski continued.
“I decided to fight and confront this coward who lazily deceives and robs his people on a daily basis and abuses the state function that he came to hold in a dishonest way,” the former PM wrote.
Gruevski held office between 2006 and 2016. An arrest warrant was issued last week after he failed to start a two-year prison sentence for corruption. He announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday that he was in Budapest and had asked the Hungarian authorities for political asylum.
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition called the news of Gruevski being granted asylum a “scandal on a global scale”.
“Only criminal governments grant asylum to criminals,” DK spokesman Sándor Rónai told a press conference. He said something like this could not have happened in any other European country.
Rónai said granting asylum to Gruevski could be interpreted by the world’s criminals and terrorists as a message that they can find refuge from the law in Hungary. He added that “Europe’s first people smuggler government” was insisting that “it hasn’t broken several Hungarian and international laws” through this affair.
Rónai said the affair would have “grave international consequences”.
“It has also become clear that [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán will also have to flee if he loses power at some point, unless he wants to languish in prison for years and years,” the spokesman said.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/NikolaGruevski