Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Only in (Fidesz) Hungary

New law implies that police are liars
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Dear Editor,
The Media Law was disgusting enough. Now Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his government have introduced more pathetic legislation, the “nullity law”, which quashes any conviction for crimes against the public or authorities between 18 September and 24 October 2006 if guilt was established solely on police reports and testimony. In other words, the police are said to have lied.

It is clear and understood that the 2006 riots, which broke out after the leaking of a speech by then-prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, caused chaos that resulted in many injuries to peaceful protesters, destructive rioters, ordinary pedestrians and police. Many were arrested and most of them were sentenced for crimes against the public, such as breach of the peace, abuse and violence, and attacks on police. The sentences were handed down by judges in court trials.
Now the lawmakers have annuled those sentences where the evidence relied only on police reports and testimony. As far as Hungary is (or at least looks like) a democratic country, such a law should not have been passed. In a democracy, jurisdiction and legislation must be separated in the power structure, and lawmakers must not change individual sentences of independent judges.
We believe that this situation should be resolved because most people generally suspect that the former government also tried to influence jurisdiction. The mirror image of evil is evil itself. If the current government interferes in such a selective and rude manner, it is violating the basic foundations of democracy in the same way it has accused the last government of doing.
The ruling-party politician who proposed the bill said it is not against our legal system and so it is lawful and right. I disagree. Even the Holocaust was not against the Nazi legal system and as such it was lawful, but was it right? Many people were executed or received life sentences at the Nuremberg trials after defending themselves by saying that they had only carried out legal orders. It did not help them.
A government can make laws as it wants but must bear in mind that it cannot change justice in fact. This should have been settled with an amnesty law to bring justice for all.

Zoltán Székely
Doctor of Law and Political Sciences
Association of Police Trade Unions

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