(Szivos Maria, far left, appointed to the Hungarian Constitutional Court.)
This quote was made during his post-election speech in Budapest on April 25th, 2010. The election in which he was voted to serve as the Prime Minister of Hungary: the election in which the Fidesz party received the two-thirds majority of votes to serve as the primary power in the Hungarian Parliament – the major legislation body.
Nineteen days later, on May 14th, 2010 the new Parliament representatives were sworn into office, effectively transferring the power of mandate and criminal immunity, from the previous political representatives to the newly elected ones. While the Hungarian Public Television aired a live broadcast of the ceremony, literally moments after the political power transfer, police officers escorted Miklós Hagyó from his home, where they had awaited the dissolution of his immunity powers, to a local police station. After a suspected interrogation Hagyó was imprisoned in what was called a “pre-trial detention” three days later on the 17th of May 2010.
Strangely, the incriminating evidence had neither been submitted to the appropriate authorities nor to the public. There had only been the accusations made by his former subordinate, Balogh Zsolt. It is interesting to note Balogh was also a suspect in the BKV case, but he was not subjected to pre-trial detention. So, there in prison, Hagyó sat. Finally, on the 17th of September 2010 the prosecution provided a reason for the necessity of Hagyó’s pre-trial detention: according to the prosecution, Hagyó Miklós wanted to escape Hungary to avoid the inevitable criminal proceedings. As stated in the Népszava – the following quote has been reliably translated – a popular Hungarian newspaper, “in the course of the investigation information emerged that shows Hagyó Miklós wants to leave the country to avoid the prosecution.” According the process of events and the evidence available, it required four months for the prosecution to present this claim. And, that is all it continued to be: a claim. After countless appeals to the pre-trial detention and requests for the “information” that showed Hagyó’s intent on absconding, the prosecution TO THIS DAY has not produced the evidence; nearly two years after that ground-breaking claim the so-called absconding evidence has not surfaced. One cannot help but assume it simply does not exist.
But how can a legal system empowered through a democratic society binded by constitutional law permit disregard for another’s life? Szívós Mária, a wonderful little woman who was the leading judge of a lower court which dealt with aspects of investigations like pre-trial detention and granting bail, continuously refused the appeals for the illegal detention of Hagyó. Eva S. Balogh, an excellent blogger on Hungary, describes Szívós’ hard reputation here. Hard indeed; the European Court of Human Rights determined Hungary has illegally detained suspects on many accounts. Of those, Szívós has had much influence.
The Municipal Court of the Second Instance, which was led by Szívós Mária, had this to say about the persistent refusal of the Hagyó’s appeals to his treatment, “there is data suggesting that the suspect wants to leave the country.” Szívós’ court publically supported this claim, even though the “suggestive data” had not been submitted to the defendant or the public.. That statement was issued on May 26th, 2010. Two weeks later on June 8th, 2010, Hagyó’s defendant, once again, petitioned for the documents to be publically presented which would determine the necessity of his client’s pre-trial detention. According to the prosecutor – with the exception of certain documents – the defense can only obtain a copy of the investigation file before the end of the investigation, if it does not harm the interest of the investigation. Assuming that the investigation was, at that time, continuous since Hagyó was in pre-trial dentention the defense should have access to the incarcerating evidence, no? The Strasbourg Court of Human Rights agrees: the proposed evidence suggesting the need for a pre-trial detention must be submitted to the defense. Hungary’s court system persisted in defying human rights established by the European courts. After countless appeals to the pre-trial detention and requests for the “information” that showed Hagyó’s intent on absconding, the prosecution TO THIS DAY has not produced the evidence; nearly two years after that ground-breaking claim the so-called absconding evidence has not surfaced. One cannot help but assume it simply does not exist. The only document that has surfaced suggesting Hagyó’s pre-incarceration intententions was a hand-written letter delivered on the 17th of May 2010 from his lawyer to the colonel of the Budapest Police Office, Berzsenyi Mihály. In the letter, Hagyó indicated his willingness to cooperate with the investigating authorities.
Certainly it’s pure coincidence that Szívós Mária, who was determined to keep Miklós in pre-trial detention, which lasted for nine months, received a promotion from the parliamentary powers-that-be, the Fidesz party, on June 27th, 2011. Mária, along with four other Fidesz-connected individuals, were voted into the controversial Constitutional Court because she “played a very important part in restricting personal liberty – in particularly the preliminary detention.” The Constitutional Court is a special branch of the judiciary which is responsible for reviewing the acts of the Parliament.
All of these questionable activities bring me back to the quote which introduces this post. From the first day of his term as Prime Minister, Orbán has claimed he and his Fidesz cronies have been cleaning the corrupt processes instilled by MSZP in their previous eight years of office. But everything single thing they do suggests, if not blatantly shows, otherwise. Hagyó Miklós is just a microcosm of manipulative webs the Fidesz party is weaving.