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Macedonia’s fugitive ex-PM claims he feared for his life

February 2, 2019
FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 file photo, Nikola Gruevski, leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party that won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, arrives at the constitutive session in the parliament building in Skopje, Macedonia. In his first media interview since his escape, speaking Saturday Feb. 2, 2019, to private Macedonian broadcaster Sitel, former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who dominated politics in his country for a decade and is now a fugitive from justice, said he fled to Hungary fearing for his life. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 file photo, Nikola Gruevski, leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party that won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, arrives at the constitutive session in the parliament building in Skopje, Macedonia. In his first media interview since his escape, speaking Saturday Feb. 2, 2019, to private Macedonian broadcaster Sitel, former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who dominated politics in his country for a decade and is now a fugitive from justice, said he fled to Hungary fearing for his life. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski, File)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who dominated politics in his country for a decade and is now a fugitive from justice, says he fled to Hungary fearing for his life.

Gruevski, 48, turned up at the Hungarian embassy in Tirana, Albania, last November, requesting asylum hours before he was due to begin serving a 2-year jail sentence for corruption.

In his first media interview since his escape, speaking Saturday to private Macedonian broadcaster Sitel, Gruevski said he fled because he was told by “people very close to me” that he would be “liquidated” in jail. Before he heard that, he says he had intended to serve his sentence.

Macedonia has issued an international arrest warrant for him and has filed an extradition request to Hungarian authorities.

Gruevski says he intends to return home “someday.”

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