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Far-right activists pardoned by President Novák

May 4th, 2023

Left-wing commentators are outraged by the decision to pardon a group of people convicted of terrorism, while a right-wing commentator asserts that they were not terrorists at all.

In the wake of the autumn street disturbances and police violence in 2006, György Budaházy set up a group called the ‘‘Hungarian Arrows’ whose members threw Molotov cocktails in front of the houses of left-wing politicians and severely beat up a TV commentator. They went on trial in 2010 and were condemned to various prison terms in 2022. In March this year, most sentences were reduced by the Appeals court. Budaházy’s original sentence was reduced to 6 years in jail, from 17. ‘In the spirit of the week of Pope Francis’s visit to Hungary’, they were pardoned by the President, who wrote that they had suffered enough during the long-drawn-out trial.

On Mérce, Soma Ábrahám Kiss accuses the President of satisfying the wishes of forces, including the far right ‘Our Homeland’ party which openly support discrimination against various minority groups. The decision, he writes, is a grave abuse of presidential powers.

In Népszava, Miklós Hargitai asks whether in the future placing petrol bombs in front of politicians’ houses and beating up journalists will be considered to be pardonable offences.

‘At last!’ Zsolt Ungváry exclaims in the headline of his column on Vasárnap. The Gyurcsány government ordered the police to crush demonstrators on the 50th anniversary of the 1956 revolution, he argues, therefore those who revolted against it cannot be considered terrorists. He interprets the presidential pardon as an expression of overdue moral justice.

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