Macedonian court rejects custody for former prime minister

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SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — A Macedonian appeals court has rejected a prosecutor's bid for former prime minister Nikola Gruevski to be remanded in custody pending trial on charges connected with a wiretapping scandal.

But the court Tuesday upheld a previous court decision banning Gruevski and four senior officials in his conservative party from leaving the country, and confiscating their passports.

A special prosecutor investigating the wiretaps has charged Gruevski and his four aides with alleged electoral violations and misusing public funds during an electoral campaign.

In the scandal, the telephone conversations of about 20,000 people were illegally recorded. Gruevski denies wrongdoing and blames foreign spies. The scandal triggered a political crisis and an election last December that ended the 10-year rule of Gruevski's conservative VMRO-DPMNE party.

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