Hungarian Officials Must Extradite Former Macedonian Prime Minister
Joint statement from Transparency International Macedonia and Transparency International Hungary
Issued by Transparency International Secretariat
Following the issuing of an international warrant for the arrest of former Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, Transparency International and its chapters in Macedonia and Hungary, urge Hungarian officials to extradite Gruevski from Hungary, where he is currently seeking asylum in an attempt to avoid imprisonment after a non-appealable conviction for corruption.
“This situation is a big test for the Macedonian and Hungarian authorities and needs to be addressed in accordance with Hungarian law,” said Slagjana Taseva, Chair of Transparency International Macedonia. “We call on Hungarian authorities to uphold the no impunity principle, as outlined in the European Convention on Extradition.”
In May 2018, Gruevski, who served as Prime Minister for ten years between 2006 and 2016, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for unlawful influence of government officials over the purchase of a luxury car. The Macedonian court found Gruevski guilty under Article 359 paragraph 2 of the Criminal Code.
During the investigation and trial, Gruevski had his passports revoked by the court. Due to four additional ongoing cases of corruption, in which the former PM is also implicated, the court required him to present himself every Friday to court officers/law enforcement officials. That is, until last week, when he mysteriously disappeared from the country.
“Both countries should uphold the rule of law and Nikola Gruevski must be held accountable to the citizens of Macedonia for his corrupt acts during his time as prime minister,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “No politician should be allowed to get away with corruption charges, particularly after the courts have clearly ruled in favour of conviction.”
“Hungarian authorities should act according to European and international judicial regulations and standards. Once a politician is convicted by an independent court, none of the governments should provide them escape route and impunity,” added József Péter Martin, Executive Director of Transparency International Hungary.
The Gruevski cases are being led by the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), which was established in 2015 following the illegal wire-tapping of more than 20,000 individuals, including journalists and civil society activists. According to completed investigations and indictments by the SPO, during his time in office Gruevski and his associates diverted hundreds of millions of euros in public funds from the people of Macedonia.
Transparency International and its chapters in Macedonia and Hungary call on Hungarian authorities to fulfil their commitment to international justice by extraditing the former PM, ensuring that Gruevski faces justice for his corrupt activities.
For more information about European standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, go to https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:337:0009:0026:en:PDF
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