ECHR: Hungary's treatment of asylum seeker was 'inhuman'

  • Stay updated on the latest news from Hungary by signing up for the free InsightHungary newsletter:

EU human rights court finds Hungary guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment of Iraqi asylum seeker

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Hungarian authorities’ use of a handcuff and a leash on an Iraqi asylum seeker was ‘inhuman and degrading'. The Iraqi man arrived at the transit zone at the Serbian Border in 2017 with his children and his pregnant wife, who was dealing with a ‘high risk’ pregnancy. The woman was taken to different hospitals on numerous occasions. “Ten days after they arrived in the transit zone, her husband went with her and was handcuffed and attached to a leash in full view of their children,” the European court paper reads. “He was made to remain in handcuffs throughout the hospital visit while acting as interpreter for his wife.” For the first three months of the asylum proceeding, there was reportedly no progress in their case, which resulted in a hunger strike by the pregnant woman.

According to court documents, the Iraqi family was allegedly forced to leave Iraq after the national security services tortured the father. 

The court found a violation of Article 3 (which prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment), and it also found there was a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) and Article 4 (right to have the lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court) of the Convention. ECHR found that “there was no evidence that he had posed any danger to himself or anyone else,” also stating that the handcuffs and leash “had not been ‘imposed in connection with lawful arrest or detention”.

Hungarian kids boo England players for taking a knee before Nations League match

England team was booed by young Hungarian soccer fans when taking a knee against racial injustice at the Nations League in Budapest on Saturday.

This comes after Budapest had to play a ‘behind closed doors’ match after multiple incidents in the past years. In 2021 Hungarian ultras reportedly aimed racist ‘monkey chants’ and other 'anti- LGBT chants' during FIFA and UEFA games. Last month Hungarian FA decided that school children could attend the match. After the national anthems, England players took a knee when they heard loud boos.

"I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture. And I think, very often young people, especially, they can't know why they're doing it. They are being influenced by adults," England manager Gareth Southgate told Channel 4 Sport.

After multiple reports of the event, the Hungarian Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, Zoltan Kovacs took to Twitter saying: “Anyone who thinks that children attending a football match in Budapest can be blamed for any kind of political statement is truly an idiot.”

Orbán’s diplomats gathered information on study trips of journalists 

Hungarian diplomats regularly monitored the activities of foreign newspapers reporting on the Orbán government’s affairs. They gathered information on the travels of independent journalists while actively facilitating foreign visits of pro-government media workers – Direkt 36 reports.

The Hungarian investigative outlet obtained dozens of diplomatic cables with the help of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ/HCLU) in the course of a freedom of information lawsuit. 

In 2020, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade instructed Hungarian embassies in EU member states to check whether their host countries had organized professional visits, courses, or study trips for Hungarian journalists and who participated.

The letter that revealed these instructions was obtained by Telex last year. It was issued by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó’s confidant, state secretary Tamás Menczer. When Menczer was asked for a comment on ATV he said: “I was just curious because my job at the Foreign Ministry is to deal with political issues, and I consider it a political issue if George Soros is funding media courses for left-wing journalists (…) Some Soros organizations, such as Transparency International, organize such training. Professional trips! You don’t say!”.