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Police brutality footage from 2006

March 6th, 2012

A right-wing columnist wonders why the police investigates journalists who identified the policemen beating up protesters during the 2006 riots, instead of prosecuting the violent perpetrators who, she believes, acted on the orders of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s left-wing government.

Hír TV, a pro-government news channel, aired video footage of the 2006 police attacks, hitherto unknown to the public. In a recording made by the riot police themselves, policemen in action encourage each other to shoot rubber bullets at both violent and passive protesters (see BudaPost September 28, 2011). The reporters of Hír TV earlier published a list of the names of policemen believed to be involved in the attacks. On the basis of the newly acquired tape, they identified two further policemen participating in the violence. According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights watchdog,  those police officers who investigated the 2006 violence could also be guilty of abuse of power, if they neglected video evidence which clearly proves that the riot police forces  acted illegally.

In Magyar Nemzet, Matild Torkos wonders why the police persecute the victims and the reporters who identified the policemen, instead of acting against the perpetrators. The National Bureau of Investigation in 2011 launched an investigation to find out whether the personal rights of the policemen identified by Hír TV were violated. The National Police Headquarters has offered legal advice free of charge for the policemen accused of abuse, but did not investigate their behaviour.

The pro-government commentator finds it highly problematic that the policemen involved in the violence are still active in the force – or receive decent pensions, without having to worry about the possible consequences of their deeds.

“The privacy of those policemen responsible for the brutality should not override the public interest in … getting rid of the henchmen of Gyurcsány’s regime,” Torkos contends. She also suggests that the police will not regain public trust, unless the perpetrators are prosecuted.

On March 5 Parliament adopted a proposal which called on the government to prepare a list of the still active policemen and officials who took part in the unlawful 2006 atrocities by April 15, 2012. The proposal was supported by Fidesz, the Christian Democrats, Jobbik party and the LMP. The Socialists and the MPs of the Democratic Coalition abstained.

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