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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