The first court hearing for the misdemeanor case of the Centrum Activists Group (Centrum Csoport) was held on January 11, 2006. The group of young people was charged with misdemeanor for occupying an empty building, owned by the local government. The building has been abandoned and neglected by the local government for 5 years. The aim of the occupiers was to set up a cultural, social and art centre in the abandoned building.
The 41 activists charged with the misdemeanor are represented by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s (HCLU) legal aid service.
On the first court hearing all members of the Centrum Activists Group who were charged, admitted to take part in the occupation of the building. All of them claimed to take the responsibility and all possible consequences of their conduct.
The curiosity of the case is that not only the activists but also the journalists who were reporting from the scene were charged and had to appear in front of the court.
According to HCLU this case should serve as a precedent. HCLU shares the opinion of the Centrum Activists Group, that the social benefit of their conduct overrules the damage that occurred. Therefore, HCLU will request to exonerate the activists from the charges.
The next court hearing will be held on March 13, 2006.