Hungary grants asylum to anti-Soros Macedonian leader
Hungary's immigration and asylum office “did not make any mistake” to grant former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski asylum, the country's Interior Minister told the media on Wednesday. Sandor Pinter was speaking after a meeting of parliament’s national security committee.
Published: November 23, 2018, 7:21 am
Hungarian newspaper, Magyar Idok, reported that Gruevski was granted asylum after authorities concluded that he would be at risk of political persecution if he returned to his homeland.
A member of the “conservative” Jobbik party, Adam Mirkoczki, has claimed that the Gruevski affair impacts national security. “It must be revealed if Hungarian authorities or secret services had a role [in Gruevski’s flight to Hungary], if laws have been violated, and if a convicted criminal can be sheltered in the European Union,” he said.
Mirkoczki later announced that his party would approach the European Commission after Gruevski announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday that he had been granted asylum in Hungary.
But Janos Halasz, a member of the ruling Fidesz party, said that “Gruevski is persecuted by a Socialist government backed by [US financier George] Soros”. He noted that “the opposition has created a political case” around Gruevski’s asylum request.
Halasz added that “while migration is on the increase across the Balkans … opposition politicians were only asking questions about the Gruevski affair”.
Gruevski had to cross three borders in order to reach Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, underscored on Wednesday. “In all three cases he did so lawfully,” he said.
Szijjarto dismissed reports that Hungarian diplomats had helped to “smuggle” Gruevski out of Macedonia. Gruevski was only greeted by diplomats at the Hungarian embassy in Tirana, were he had informed them about his application for asylum, he explained.
Szijjarto insisted that Gruevski had handed over his travel documents to border authorities who checked them every entry point.
Szijjarto said that no one at Monday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers had raised the issue. He will be meeting his Macedonian counterpart in early December at a NATO meeting of foreign ministers. The Macedonian government meanwhile says it has filed an extradition request for their fugitive former Prime Minister.
On Wednesday, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn tweeted that he expected a “sound explanation” from the Hungarian government for granting Gruevski asylum.
The #RuleofLaw remains a fundamental principle for Member States and accession candidates alike. It is crucial for #Europe’s credibility. Surprising that #Hungary supports 🇲🇰 #EU membership but does not consider it safe. 2/2
— Johannes Hahn (@JHahnEU) November 21, 2018
But Government Spokesman Zoltan Kovacs mocked the Austrian politician, reminding him that the latest EU Macedonian country report highlighted the “risks of political interference in the judiciary”. Kovacs also cited a report by the Council of Europe about the alarming prison conditions in the country.
.@JHahnEU “Sound explanation”? COM itself substantiated: start reading your March 2018 Macedonian country report on “risks of political interference in the judiciary”; also see @coe Oct 2017 CPT prison report pic.twitter.com/n9svjhY9rV
— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) November 21, 2018
Gruevski, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2016, was convicted in May of using a government vehicle for personal travel. He is also facing three other trials and could receive even stiffer sentences than the one already given to him.
The 48-year-old politician believes the cases against him are politically motivated. A former Macedonian intelligence chief who is also a cousin of Gruevski was taken into custody for a minimum of 30 days after a court considered him a “flight risk”. Saso Mijalkov headed state security agency UBK for almost a decade, until May 2015.
On Facebook, Gruevski said that Hungary “responded positively” to his asylum request because of his “political persecution” in Macedonia.
He also said that if he went to prison in Macedonia, his life would have been in danger as he had been informed about a plot to assassinate him.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last year against the US Department of State as well as the US. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records of communications relating to the funding and political activities of the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia.
Soros has received nearly $5 million from USAID from 2012 to 2016. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia [Judicial Watch v. US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development].
Both the State Department and USAID had failed to respond to FOIA request seeking information about Soros’ involvement in Macedonia.
“The US government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show,” Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles reported.
“US Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the US ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”
The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government.
The “Soros infantry” organise youth movements, set up influential media outlets and call for violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government.
The USAID’s website links directly to www.soros.org.mk, explaining how the project trained hundreds of young Macedonians “on topics such as freedom of association, youth policies, citizen initiatives, persuasive argumentation and use of new media”.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton noted: “The Trump State Department and USAID should get their act together and disclose the details of the Obama-Soros spigot” flooding Macedonia with US tax dollars to stir up resentment and promote regime change.
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