Former Prime Minister who escaped from the country by slapping in jail

Former Northern Macedonian leader Nikola Gruyevsky, who is on the run, has been sentenced to nine years in prison for breaking into a building.

The fugitive former northern Macedonian prime minister, Nikola Gruyevsky, was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison for ordering the demolition of a building owned by a political opponent.

Gruvevsky abused his power and the sentence was handed down by Skopje’s criminal court in 2011 as an “act of political revenge” against a former ally, Fizat Kanoski, who left the ruling coalition to lead a new opposition party. Kanowski was constructing a large residential complex, called the Cosmos Building, when the project was demolished, apparently due to permission violations.

Gruyevsky ruled the Balkan country, then called Macedonia, from 2006 to 2016. He has been convicted of absconding in four cases since fleeing Hungary in 2018. The latest sentence marks his longest prison term. He was sentenced last month to seven years in prison for using political funds to enrich himself, and was given an 18-month term in 2020 to deal with violent attacks on political opponents. Two more cases are pending against him.

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The 51-year-old former prime minister, who now describes himself as a consultant, compared his situation to that of a character in Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial, who was tried and sentenced to death without charge. On Friday, he posted a Twitter message questioning why he was seen destroying illegally constructed buildings and therefore determined to demolish them. “So is it better for me to answer for something that didn’t break than it should have broken?” He asked.

Gruvevsky was among four former government officials convicted of destroying the cosmos, while the other three were not convicted. Two former municipal officials, including former mayor Tony Trazkovsky, were sentenced to four years in prison each for the complex where the complex was being built. Former Transport Minister Miley Jankieski was given a three-year term. Defendants were ordered to pay a combined 11 million ($ 11.6 million) in retaliation.

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