Macedonia court orders 30-day custody for former spy chief

In this picture taken May 12, 2011, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, right, welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, upon his arrival in Skopje, Macedonia. Macedonia's fugitive former prime minister Gruevski said Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 he has been granted political asylum in Hungary, a week after he fled his country to avoid serving a two-year jail sentence for a corruption conviction. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — A former Macedonian intelligence chief has been taken into custody for a minimum of 30 days after judicial authorities considered him a flight risk to potentially avoid standing trial over a major wiretapping scandal.

The remand order, announced Wednesday, was issued for Saso Mijalkov who headed state security agency UBK for nearly a decade, until May 2015. Mijalkov is a cousin of former conservative prime minister Nikola Gruevski who fled to Hungary last week to avoid serving a two-year prison sentence for corruption. Gruevski said Tuesday he had been granted political asylum by Hungary.

Mijalkov, along with a former interior minister and other intelligence service officials, have been charged with ordering the illegal wiretapping of more than 20,000 people, including opposition politicians and journalists.

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