Monday, March 14, 2011

Hungary’s shameful human-rights record: Hate crime, hate speech and the marginalisation of the Roma

By Richard Field, is founder and chairman of the American House Foundation

09/03/2011 - One wonders what he would make of last Thursday’s conviction and sentencing of five Roma and one Hungarian to a total of 29 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a racially motivated attack on a Hungarian student. Four of the six suspects had been held in detention since their arrest on 23 October 2009 even though their victim did not sustain any permanent or life-threatening injuries. If their conviction is upheld on appeal, most of them will serve out the balance of their sentences in prisons usually reserved for murderers and repeat violent offenders.

To the extent several of the defendants regularly intimidated, assaulted and robbed students at a local college they deserve to be punished. What is disconcerting about the verdict is that this is the second time in less than half a year Roma have been convicted of committing hate crimes against Hungarians when Roma tend to be the victims of such crime.


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