Former Prime Minister of North Macedonia Nikola Gruevski has been sentenced in absentia to one and a half years in prison.
On Tuesday, he was found guilty on charges of “inciting and organizing violent protests” in 2013.
Former Minister of Transport Mile Janakievski was sentenced to one year probation for the same charges.
They organized and incited the crowd to forcefully enter the opposition-led city hall over allegations that it had banned the building of a church in Skopje, the court found.
The opposition was against the government’s push to change the city’s urban plan.
Their plan was revealed when opposition leader Zoran Zaev published wiretaps in 2013. Gruevski and Janakievski were heard discussing plans to organize the crowd and beat some of the opposition members in the city hall as a form of pressure.
In 2018, Gruevski fled to Hungary to avoid another two-year prison sentence for malfeasance over the purchase of a car for 600 thousand euros.