Béla Biszku, Infamous Figure Of One-Time Hungarian Communist Party, Dies Aged 94
Tamás Székely 2016.04.01.
94-year-old Communist-era party functionary Béla Biszku passed away on Friday morning, news portal index.hu reported. Biszku died in the MAZSIHISZ hospital in Budapest, the head of the hospital confirmed. The former communist interior minister was known in Hungary for his role, qualified later as a war crime, in reprisals following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.
Béla Biszku (L) with Communist leader János Kádár in Parliament (photo: mult-kor.hu)
A hard-line Communist, Béla Biszku served as the country’s minister of interior between 1957 and 1961 and successfully avoided prosecution in the two decades following the fall of the regime. On 10 September 2012, however, he was placed under house arrest on charge of suspicion of committing war crimes. Biszku was the first politician of the 1956 Communist leadership to face a criminal inquiry.
In May 2014, Béla Biszku was convicted by the Municipal Court of Budapest of ordering security forces to open fire on civilians in 1956, killing 49 people, and was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. He was also found guilty of other charges, including denying crimes committed by the communist regime – a crime in Hungary, like Holocaust denial.
However, the Metropolitan Court of Appeals set aside the first degree sentence and ordered a new trial in June 2015. As a result of the second trial, Biszku was found guilty once again in December 2015. Although the court sentenced him to two years and three months in prison, the posterior punishment was never implemented due to Biszku’s old age and poor health condition.