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Where is the legal certainty?

Francesca Borri
Francesca Borri
Borri is a war correspondent and writes regularly for Ny Tid.
COMMENT / Since 11 February 2023, Ilaria Salis has been imprisoned in Budapest for the attempted murder of two neo-Nazi militants. She pleads not guilty. The prosecution has requested 11 years in prison, 24 years if she does not confess. What about Hungary?


Honestly, it doesn't matter what actually happened.

Not least since Ilaria Salis is charged with four attacks, two of which were carried out while she had not yet arrived in Hungary.

The matter is well known. Ilaria Salis (39) is an Italian anarchist. Since 11 February 2023, she has been imprisoned in Budapest for the attempted murder of two militant neo-Nazis. She was with two militant anti-fascists, two Germans. The far right honored with an illegal, but still tolerated, demonstration an SS battalion that resisted the Red Army in 1945, and the liberation of Budapest.

Ilaria Salis (39) is an Italian anarchist.

In contrast to the two Germans, who declared themselves guilty, Ilaria Salis declares herself innocent. But innocent or guilty, what's the point? The prosecution has requested 11 years in prison, 24 years if she does not confess. She stands chained in court. Without access to his folder, because nothing has been translated into Italian. In the center there is a mural in which she appears to have died by hanging. The question is: Where is rule of lawone? And where is the proportionality in tightone, and now, already now, with all the preventive measures? Is it necessary to keep her in a cell with insects and rats to prevent escape?

Viktor Orbán and Hungary

We are not talking about Ilaria Salis when we talk about Ilaria Salis, but about Europe. And about this black hole that Hungary has become.

Viktor Orbán has been prime minister since 2010. And like most of his generation, who grew up in the Soviet Union, he is a champion of independence. He wants a strong Hungary. A Hungarian Hungary. Therefore, in 2011 he introduced a new constitution, which has since been amended several times with further strictures: to limit the autonomy of the courts; to monitor and influence the media; and above all to free the executive as much as possible from any form of control. During the covid-19 crisis, he ruled by decree for several months. Alone.

And in 2015, with refugee flows from Syria, he ordered the construction of a barrier on the southern border and curtailed asylum laws. The best migrant, he says, is the one who does not appear. His role models are states such as Turkey and China. And Russia. And with the war in Ukraine, he has actually been on a collision course with the EU, because he insists Putin's page. Brussels, he famously said, is more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

In Hungary, all prisoners are chained, he says, and all cells have insects and rats.

That is why he rejects all criticism of Salis: For Orbán, it is about the national sovereignty. In Hungary, all prisoners are chained, he says, and all cells have insects and rats. Ilaria Saris is treated like everyone else. And it's true. But he also says that this story is Hungary's business. And here he is wrong. Ilaria Salis is not in a Hungarian prison, but in one European. She is not an Italian citizen, she is a European citizen.

And Hungary's case is our case.

Now Orbán is playing the Ilaria Salis card.

Orbán's strategy is clear. Through Ilaria Salis, he puts pressure on Italy, which is now a friendly country with a far-right government, so that Italy in Brussels lifts the blocking of EU funds to Hungary, which have been frozen precisely because Hungary violates human rights on a large scale and systematically – first and above all the right to a fair trial. Viktor Orbán has long blocked aid to Ukraine, and has only released it in exchange for being paid part of the 22,4 billion euros he is entitled to. But it is not enough. And now he's playing the Ilaria Salis card.

He is only European when it comes to getting money.

Either Ilaria Salis is allowed to leave Hungary, or Hungary should leave Europe.

The article has been translated by the editor.
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