The fugitive former Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for illegally ordering the demolition in 2011 of a multimillion-dollar complex belonging to a former political ally turned opponent.
SKOPJE, North Macedonia – The fugitive former Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for illegally ordering the 2011 demolition of a multimillion-dollar residential and business complex owned to a former political ally turned opponent.
The criminal court in the capital, Skopje, ruled that the demolition was an “act of political revenge” against Fijat Canoski, then leader of the small Party for the European Future (PEI), who left Gruevski’s conservative government coalition and joined the opposition. .
Three other former officials at the time of the demolition were also sentenced on Friday evening. Toni Trajkovski, the former mayor of the municipality of Gazi Baba, one of the 10 neighborhoods that make up Skopje, and a former municipal official were sentenced to 4 years in prison each while former transport minister Mile Janakieski was sentenced three years in prison. The three were also ordered to pay a total of 11 million euros ($11.6 million) in damages.
Three other officials were acquitted.
It is Gruevski’s fourth conviction since he left office in 2016 after nearly a decade in office.
Gruevski fled to Hungary in 2018 before his first sentence could be served. He has compared himself in social media posts to Joseph K., the main character in Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial”, who is convicted and executed without ever knowing what he is accused of.