HCLU succeed: court reached verdict in “squatter” case

On March 3rd the Central District Court of Pest reached the verdict in the Centrum Group case. The “squatters” were represented by Levente Baltay, lawyer at Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU).

As we reported before 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. Police pressed charges for misdemeanor against the “squatters” and against the journalists reporting from the scene.

The verdict is favorable. The charges against the four journalists were dismissed. The reasoning of the court was that even if the journalist were present at the scene, it was not for the reason of occupying the building. The charges against 2 participants were also dismissed. The reason for the dismissal was that these two persons were invited to the scene by an email, which according to its content invited them for an exhibition followed by a party.

The charges against the 35 persons actually taking part in occupying the building were also dismissed. The court found that as for a fact the action was an unauthorized occupation of the building. However, with regard to the special circumstances the level of danger the society got exposed to by such action was zero. Indeed the effect of the action of the Centrum Group is rather positive than negative from the society’s point of view, as described in the HCLU lawyer’s and also the in court’s reasoning as well.

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