A Budapest court has rejected an extradition request from North Macedonia for its former prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, who fled to Hungary in November after he was sentenced to a two-year prison term for corruption.
Gruevski, who was granted asylum by Hungary, is an ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
He arrived in Budapest after traveling through several Balkan countries in Hungarian diplomatic vehicles, escorted by Hungarian diplomats.
North Macedonia is seeking Gruevski's extradition because of the conviction and because of several other criminal proceedings launched against him.
The Budapest Metropolitan Court said on June 27 that the extradition request cannot be granted since people given asylum cannot be extradited to the country they fled from.
The judge said the international arrest warrant issued by Skopje and the extradition request made by North Macedonia's justice minister do not fulfill the legal requirements of extradition.
Gruevski was in office for a decade until 2016.
Earlier this month, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told lawmakers that he meets regularly in his office with Gruevski to consult on Western Balkan affairs.