July 20. 2024. 12:37

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Skopje to renew extradition demand for fugitive PM in Hungary

North Macedonia will once again send a formal request to Hungary to extradite fugitive former prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who has already been sentenced for corruption and money laundering and is “involved in nine more cases”, Justice Minister Krenar LLoga said on Monday.

Gruevski, the former leader of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, was prime minister from 2006 to 2016, when he resigned following a wire-tapping scandal.

He was first sentenced to two years in prison in November 2018 but fled to Hungary, where he was granted political asylum, claiming that North Macedonia “does not have good prison conditions for this category of convicts”.

He was then tried in absentia and slapped with another seven-year sentence in 2022 for allegedly taking more than €1 million from donations to his party while in office.

“Gruevski is involved in nine more cases before the domestic courts and I will submit another request for his extradition,” Justice Minister Krenar Lloga said, adding that Gruevski would be held in the so-called Hague cell during the trial and after, if convicted.

“I believe this is acceptable for the Hungarian institutions, since these cells meet all international standards,” Lloga said, according to the official news agency MIA.

North Macedonia has already requested Gruevski’s extradition three times, in 2018, 2019, and 2022.

(Zoran Radosavljević | EURACTIV.com)