Hungary accused of violating its own tough immigration laws by helping fugitive Macedonian ex-PM
A human rights organisation has accused the Hungarian government of breaking the country’s strict immigration laws by helping a fugitive former Macedonian prime minister to claim asylum, telegraph.co.uk reports.
Nikola Gruevski, who served for 10 years as prime minister, should have turned himself in to the Macedonian authorities on November 8 to begin a two-year jail sentence for corruption, but instead went on the run.
He surfaced in Budapest earlier this week despite having no passport, and claimed asylum, saying that he had received death threats at home.
Gruevski enjoyed a strong relationship with Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, when in office, and his arrival may have flouted tough anti-illegal immigration laws introduced by the Orban government.
Andras Lederer, advocacy officer on the refugee programme at the Helsinki Committee, a Budapest-based organisation that handles asylum cases, said that Gruevski has no legal grounds for an asylum claim under these same laws.
“The law has been broken, I can’t see any other explanation for what is happening here,” he told The Telegraph.
“The law is very clear. If you enter the country without a valid travel document or visa, you can’t apply for asylum, and you are pushed back [across the border].
“If he has no valid passport then there is no way he could have got into the country legally,” he added.
“The police should take him down to the Hungarian-Serbian border and send him back into Serbia. This is what happens to everyone else who is not an ex-prime minister.”
Exactly how he got to Budapest remains something of mystery.
Korrieri, an Albanian newspaper, printed a picture of Gruevski apparently at the wheel of a Hungarian diplomatic car at the Albanian-Montenegrin border, but where he went after that, and how he got into Hungary has yet to be revealed.
The Hungarian government has said denied assisting the convict leave his home country.
The government has also stated that Gruevski’s asylum case will be dealt with in accordance to Hungarian and international law.
It also said that given the death threats made against him, Gruevski will be allowed to submit his asylum request in Budapest rather than in a border transit zone.