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Magyar Köztársaság címere

Press release by President of Hungary Katalin Novák in the Budaházy case

I received the requests for clemency filed by the persons involved in the well-known „Budaházy-case” in the middle of December. As is known, criminal proceedings have continued to be underway against 17 people for 13 years, until the present day. I find it regrettable that the court has not been able to reach a final decision in almost a decade and a half.

After careful consideration, I have decided to separate the cases of those who were acquitted by the court of first instance or where the offence was considered to be of lesser gravity. To them, any further delay in the proceedings would be disproportionately more damaging than the penalty that may be imposed on them. The time spent in pre-trial detention and the 13 year-long ordeal have been very testing for the people concerned and their families. I therefore decided to grant procedural clemency to seven people.

However, several of the defendants in the case were charged with serious offences, the court of first instance also found that they had acted in a criminal organisation, and therefore decided to impose a significant penalty. The charges in their cases are so serious that I consider it appropriate to decide about their requests for clemency only after a final court judgement is reached.

The “Budaházy-case” also points out that unreasonable delay in court proceedings is unacceptable and offends people’s sense of justice.

I call on the legislative bodies and judicial organisations to take steps to accelerate judicial decision-making.