Hungarian rapper faces criminal charges for kicking head of statue

On 23 October 2013 rapper László Pityinger, known as Dopeman, was a speaker at a political demonstration arranged by political group Szolidaritás. During the demonstration the audience symbolically toppled and cut off the head of a statue representing the prime minister of Hungary. The rapper kicked the detached head which resulted in a criminal investigation. Dopeman will be represented by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) during the procedure.

The investigation is based on the suspicion that Dopeman committed the crime of public nuisance. The HCLU argues that expressing a political view that does not violate the rights of others cannot be a crime, not even criticism that targets the prime minister. In a democratic society disturbing and shocking opinions must be considered legal. If the people in power can restrict criticism against them, democracy is no longer present. You can read our petition to the police here.

Recently, the police expanded the investigation to include blasphemy of a national symbol, in spite of the fact that the case was previously initiated because of the song ‘Bazmeg’, and was closed years ago. The song contains samples from the national anthem of Hungary alongside explicit language and harsh criticism of the current political regime. According to the former decision, although the rapper’s opinion may be shocking or disturbing, but it does not offend the national anthem itself. The reasons for reopening the case are unclear. The HCLU argues that Dopeman’s political and artistic expression cannot be criminalized.

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