Foreign ministry rejects US comments on Hungary ruling
Budapest, December 7 (MTI) – The United States Department of State’s comment on a Hungarian court ruling is “outrageous and unacceptable”, Tamás Menczer, the press chief of the Hungarian foreign ministry, said on Wednesday in connection with criticism of the imprisonment of a Syrian man.
The State Department earlier issued a statement expressing concern over the recent “prosecution and sentencing in Hungary of Ahmed Hamed, a Syrian native involved in clashes between police and asylum-seekers near the town of Roszke at the Hungary-Serbia border in September 2015, based on a broad interpretation of what constitutes ‘terrorism’.” It urged the Hungarian government “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.”
In his response, Menczer called it “strange” that the US was encouraging a foreign government “to interfere in court procedures”.
“It may be possible in the US, but not in Hungary,” he added. “It is not so-called civil organisations but the law courts that sentence perpetrators of a crime, whether the US State Department likes it or not,” he said in a statement. “Attacking the Hungarian border and commanding an attack of several hours on Hungarian police are serious crimes which call for serious punishment.”
“Hungary would never hold US courts to account for sentencing terrorists who attacked American police,” the official added.
The justice ministry said it expected “allied countries” to respect the independence of the judiciary, and this applied to the United States, too. In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry noted that the courts in Hungary are independent and the government had no say in their judgements. Hungary’s constitution provides for due process as a judicial requirement, it added.