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Dec 07, 2016

Hungary finds US comments on court system “outrageous and unacceptable”

Attacking the Hungarian border and keeping up an attack for several hours against the Hungarian police defending the border is a “serious crime that merits a serious penalty”

The Hungarian government has expressed its outrage at the comments made by the US State Department in regards to decisions made by Hungarian courts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade finds it “outrageous and unacceptable” that the United States should comment on the recent sentencing of a Syrian asylum-seeker in Hungary, Tamás Menczer, press chief at the ministry, said.

The Syrian received a ten-year prison sentence following last year’s riot at the Röszke border crossing in southern Hungary where he took part in 'acts of terror' against police officers.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that “We said it in advance, we put billboards around the whole country about it: if you come here, you need to abide by Hungarian laws.” 

However, the United States took the unprecedented step of commenting publicly about the Syrian's sentencing.

“The United States is concerned by the prosecution and sentencing in Hungary of Ahmed Hamed, a Syrian native involved in clashes between police and asylum-seekers near the town of Röszke at the Hungary-Serbia border in September 2015, based on a broad interpretation of what constitutes ‘terrorism’,” the US State Department said.

“We urge the government of Hungary to conduct a transparent investigation, with input from independent civil society groups, into the events at Röszke and to review the cases of Mr. Hamed and those similarly convicted. We will continue to follow the case of Mr. Hamed closely,” the statement added.

In response, Menczer said it was “strange that the foreign diplomacy of the United States, which regularly lectures the world about the separation of powers, is now urging a government to interfere with a court decision. This might be possible in the United States, but it is not possible in Hungary,” he said.

He stressed that “in Hungary, the court, and not so-called civil organizations, decides on the destiny of those who have committed crimes, and this will stay this way, irrespective of whether the US foreign ministry likes it or not.”

Menczer added that attacking the Hungarian border and keeping up an attack for several hours against the Hungarian police defending the border is a “serious crime that merits a serious penalty.” He concluded that “Hungary will never question decisions by US courts brought against terrorists attacking US police officers.”