Right-wing columnists fulminate against the appeal court which annulled the prison sentence handed down to former Communist Party chieftain Béla Biszku for his role in the post-revolution reprisals in 1956. An expert says while the ruling was well founded legally it signals a defeat for the Judiciary. A left-wing commentator suggests that Biszku is despised in Hungary – even without a sentence.
In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Pilhál remarks that in Germany, Oskar Gröning, the “Auschwitz accountant”, who played an insignificant role in the horrors, is on trial and will be convicted at the age of 93, while in Hungary the courts are unable to convict one of the key figures of communist crimes against humanity.
In Napi Gazdaság, László Néző calls it a “world-wide scandal” that twenty-five years after the fall of communism there has not been one single court sentence worthy of the name against former communist luminaries. He finds it revolting that instead of being taken to court, communist leaders who ruined the lives of tens and hundreds of thousands of citizens, enjoyed high old age pensions until their dying breath.
On Mandiner Ádám Gellért, an expert on international criminal law, agrees with the appeal court ruling and believes that the indictment was highly unprofessional. The judiciary has failed to properly investigate communist era crimes over the past years, but there is plenty of evidence to be found in the archives. He hopes the last word has not yet been pronounced in this case.
In Népszabadság, Péter Cseri thinks all attempts to hand down convincing sentences on ageing defendants, whether Nazi or Communist, have been unsuccessful, because of the difficulty of providing solid evidence about crimes committed several decades ago. On the other hand, even without a valid sentence, Biszku is held in public contempt, he concludes.