Declaration of Protest

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) has been informed with revelation that Gatter László, the head of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest, denounced certain leaders of the Communist Party (Munkáspárt) for slander, since one of the court’s sentence, delivered in connection with an internal debate of the Labour Party, was called “political” by the Party’s web site.

Press Statement

Freedom of criticism and expressing opinion is one of the milestones that define an open society. It is particularly important in an open, democratic society to let citizens express their opinion about the activity of public power establishments without fear and danger of penalty. The No. 30/1992. statement of the Constitutional Court shares this approach as well.

It is a definite viewpoint of HCLU that citizens should be allowed to form their opinion freely, even if that is without base, on the decision carried out by any public power organization, thus also about judicial sentences, and to assess those. HCLU requires self-discipline in expressing opinion on the judicial sentences only from public people of other public power fields – such as members of parliament and governmental functionaries.

HCLU supposes that the bench’s respect would be guaranteed if high-positioned judges were not involved in everyday political debates and if they could welcome the criticism regarding the activity of the court with some liberality. It is rather saddening that it is the court itself - keeping the political rights of freedom impartially, based on its constitutional function - which reaches out, through its leaders, to devices of penal statues in order to press down criticism.

HCLU finds it especially worrying that lately some public power organizations and public people have constantly tried to block freedom of expression of opinion – by hiding behind their positive reputation. HCLU requires from Gatter László to withdraw his denunciation and at the same time it offers free legal help for the denounced leaders of Communist Party.

Budapest, 28-November-2005

dr. Dénes Balázs
Executive Director of HCLU

 

Share

Related articles

Social Protest and Human Rights - Discussion

The International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) invites you to a discussion on police use of force and human rights' protections in social protests. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, are addressing these issues in their annual reports and will explain the challenges we are facing.
 

HCLU Wins Freedom of Speech Case at European Court of Human Rights

On July 19th, after a lengthy legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ruled in favor of journalist Peter Uj, represented by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. The journalist criticized the state owned Tokaj Kereskedőház (Hungarian winery) and specifically characterized it’s wine as shit. Criminal charges (defamation and criminal libel) initiated by the Tokaj Kereskedőház were pressed against him.

Sándor Fábry vs. Péter György: freedom of expression won!

The case of the showman versus the aesthete has come to an end. HCLU has represented the Péter György, the aesthete and the right to expression.