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Commentators reject accusation by Italian antifascist defendant

February 9th, 2024

Pro-government columnists dismiss allegations of appalling prison conditions made by an Italian woman who stands accused of grievous bodily harm against people whom her group suspected of being neo-nazi sympathisers.

Ilaria Santis, a 39-year-old teacher from Milan travelled to Budapest last year with eight of her comrades from several European countries with the intent of attacking people whom they considered fascists. Some of the victims were seriously injured. Pictures showing her being led into the courtroom in chains made the headlines of Italian newspapers and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni raised the issue with PM Orbán.

In Magyar Nemzet, László Szentesi-Zöldi finds it absurd for Ms Santis’s lawyer to call her a ’proud anti-fascist’ and argues on that basis that she should be released and kept in house arrest, because as such, she would never escape. Szentesi Zöldi writes that the defendant is not facing a trial because she is anti-fascist but because she attacked several people and beat them up for political reasons, causing serious injuries. He dismisses as absurd her allegation that her cell was swarming with lice and rats. Inmates in Hungary voice no similar complaints, he claims, although he adds ironically that Norwegian jails must be more comfortable.

In Magyar Hírlap, Pál Dippold hopes that Hungary will never allow political violence to become standard practice in its cities. He also condemns the lawyer of the defendant for characterising Salis’s prison environment as ‘Balkan’. Dippold quotes the prison authorities as saying that Ms Salis made hundreds of phone calls while in detention, uses a mobile phone, and no lice or rats were found in or around her cell.





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