Absurd charges against opposition MPs after today’s protest
CRIMINAL CHARGES ON ACCOUNT OF VIOLATION OF PERSONAL LIBERTY AGAINST PROTESTING MPS AND ACTIVIST OF LMP RUN COUNTER TO HUMAN LOGIC, SINCE NO ONE'S FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT HAS BEEN VIOLATED AND ANYONE COULD ACCESS THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING. THE HUNGARIAN HELSINKI COMMITTEE IS OFFERING FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO ACTIVISTS DETAINED BY THE POLICE.
Criminal charges on account of violation of personal liberty against protesting MPs and activist of LMP (an opposition parliamentary party) run counter to human logic, since no one’s freedom of movement has been violated and anyone could access the Parliament building. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee is offering free legal assistance to activists detained by the police.
LMP members of parliament and activists, who earlier today have formed a human chain around Parliament, have been detained by the police on charges of suspicion of “violation of personal liberty”. Under the Criminal Code, the criminal act referred to by the police and which carries a sanction of up to 3 years of imprisonment, may be committed by a person “who denies someone their personal liberty”. In judicial practice, this is understood as conduct that leads to the victim not being able to exercise his/her freedom of movement or to choose his/her place of stay (by e.g. tying down or locking up the victim).
Since the LMP protesters did not hinder anyone in accessing or leaving the Parliament building, as people could freely do so on foot at any point in time during the demonstration, it is clear that the protesters did not breach anyone’s right to move freely.
In light of the court decision taken in the case of FIDESZ’s 2007 action to dismantle security gates surrounding Parliament, it could be questioned whether the protesters’ action can be qualified as a misdemeanour. Forcing a qualification under criminal law on the incident runs counter to the basic rules of human logic. The Helsinki Committee calls on the Police and the Prosecutor’s Office to review the obviously absurd qualification of the protesters’ action and to stop the criminal procedures.
An inquiry should also look into the lawfulness of police actions taken against the MPs and other demonstrators, including the manner in which physical force was applied against them, to examine whether police actions were fully necessary and proportionate.