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Budapest Court of Appeal upholds life sentence for racist murderers

May 12th, 2015

A left-wing columnist fears that the possibility of further appeal by the murderers of Roma families will weaken trust in Hungarian courts. A conservative commentator wonders why the involvement of the secret services under the Gyurcsány government was not investigated.

On Friday, the Budapest Court of Appeal upheld the previous verdict which sentenced three men to lifelong imprisonment without parole for the racially motivated 2008-2009 Roma murder spree. A fourth member of the gang was given 14-years in jail. In addition to upholding the previous verdict, the Budapest Court of Appeal ruled that the three culprits were also guilty of unlawful restraint. Although this will not have any impact on the life sentences, it gave the three defendants the opportunity to appeal against the judgement to the Curia.

Another round of appeals will further postpone the closing of the case, Attila Fekete fears in Népszabadság, Despite the fact that the defendants’ appeal to the Curia will not impact the legally binding life sentence without parole, the prolongation of the legal procedure may further erode trust in the effectiveness of Hungarian jurisdiction, the left-wing columnist thinks.

In Napi Gazdaság, Károly Villányi regrets that the Court has not clarified the involvement of the military counter-espionage in the murders under the Gyurcsány government. Villányi recalls that one of the culprits turned out to have been an informant of the Office of Military Security, although the office had long denied any involvement. Villányi finds it also unusual that the Office of National Security stopped monitoring the convicts when they were planning to get weapons. The execution of the murders also suggest that the criminals must have received logistical and financial support, Villányi thinks. He concludes by noting that we will never learn if and how the secret services under PM Gyurcsány were part of the scheme.

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