Ex-PM who fled country slapped with prison term — Analysis

Nikola Gruevski (an ex-leader of North Macedonia), was sentenced to nine years for destroying a building.

Nikola Gruevski (fugitive North Macedonian Prime Minister) was sentenced Friday to nine-years in prison for ordering demolition of a property owned by a political opponent.

Skopje’s Criminal Court handed down the sentence after finding that Gruevski had abused his power and ordered the 2011 demolition as an “act of political revenge” against Fijat Canoski, a former ally who had left the ruling coalition to lead a fledgling opposition party. Canoski was building a large residential compound, known as the Cosmos Building. It was destroyed allegedly because permit violations.

Gruevski was the ruler of Balkan nation, which used to be called Macedonia from 2006 until 2016. In four of the cases he fled to Hungary, Gruevski was sentenced absentia. This is his longest term in prison. Last month, he was sentenced to seven years in prison for the use of political funds to benefit himself. In 2020, a 18-month term was also given for his involvement with violent attacks against political opponents. There are two other cases against him that remain pending.

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The 51-year-old ex-PM, who currently describes himself as a consultant, has compared his situation to a character in the Franz Kafka novel, ‘The Trial’, who was prosecuted and sentenced to death without knowing the allegations against him. He posted on Twitter Friday a questioning tweet asking why he had destroyed illegally constructed buildings and was therefore being slated to be demolished. “So is it better for me to answer for something that did not collapse that should have collapsed than for something that hasn’t collapsed but had to?”He asked.

Gruevski, along with three other former officials of the government were sent to prison in connection to Cosmos’ demolition. Ex-mayor Toni Trajkovski and Toni Trajkovski were both sentenced to four year imprisonment. Mile Janakieski (ex-transport minister) was sentenced for a term of three years. The defendants were ordered to pay a combined €11 million ($11.6 million) in restitution.

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