Naming the Assassins

TatárszentgyörgyOn August 6, the Budapest Regional Criminal Court condemned Árpád Kiss, István Kiss and Zsolt Pető to life in prison for the murder of six people in eight racial attacks against Gypsies in rural Hungary between July 2008 and August 2009. They killed these people in nighttime attacks, most often throwing Molotov cocktails on the roofs of houses located on the Gypsy-inhabited outskirts of villages and shooting their inhabitants with hunting rifles as they fled their burning homes. Their youngest victim was a four-year-old boy in the village of Tatárszentgyörgy. 

After the pronouncement of the first-instance verdict ending the highly publicized two-and-a-half-year trial, Fidesz Spokesman Róbert Zsigó held a press conference during which he made the following statement on behalf of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s party (source in Hungarian): 

It is important for me to emphasis that such incidents could not take place today. In spite of the most severe verdict possible in this affair, I strongly believe that several questions have remained open. If we look at the trial from a more distant perspective, several serious questions, several facts inevitably emerge. One of them is why did these murders take place precisely then, in 2008 and 2009, at the time of the Gyurcsány-Bajnai government. In whose interest were they? In addition to the perpetrators convicted today, who might be the culprits whom have gone unpunished, whose names will remain forever concealed? These questions are very justified based on the evidence revealed during the trial, because during the proceedings it became totally clear that the national security services operating at that time and the military security office operating at the time not only failed to help in terms of prevention, investigation and clarity, but expressly hindered this. The sequence of errors and omissions they committed at that time was so extensive that it could not have been accidental. . . . In short, there are too many coincidences, procedural errors and instances of neglect. To this day, one cannot know what they are hiding, and what they concealed from the investigative commission, the court and public opinion. Particularly thought-provoking in connection to the trial was the incident in April of 2011, when one of the witnesses decided to provide testimony, though after seeing Ferenc Gyurcsány walk into the courtroom, remained silent (note 1). 

The Fidesz spokesman’s implication that the Hungarian Socialist Party-led governments of former prime ministers Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai and their secret services may have for some reason abetted the convicted assassins in their cold-blooded killings of Gypsies is so wildly unfounded that it does not even merit rebuttal. It is pure demagoguery aimed at increasing popular support for Fidesz through the identification of the party’s political opponents with criminals of the most vile and despicable sort. Fidesz believes that it can contain the hostility it has long provoked in this way toward the former prime ministers and their parties among a temperamental people that is highly receptive to such incitement. However, Prime Minister Orbán and his party will sooner or later lose control of this volatile force, which will not only consume them, but could deliver the death-blow to the entire political system, still nominally democratic, in Hungary. 


1-Former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány attended the fourth hearing in the trial on April 5, 2011. He was already sitting in the courtroom at the beginning of the hearing and left at the first intermission. 



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