Lutheran pastor László Lehel, head of the Hungarian Interchurch Aid, was recruited by the Hungarian secret services in 1983 and actively collaborated with infamous Communist organisation, known for the political observation and harassment of the Hungarian citizens, for years, news portal mno.hu reported.
Although the newspaper referred to the original recruiting documents discovered by journalist Csaba Lukács in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security (ÁBTL), neither László Lehel, nor the press office of the Interchuch Aid have commented on the claim so far. The Interchurch Aid, however, said Mr Lehel has suspended his role as leader of the charity service from 1st of May 2017 in order to defend himself from the attacks as a “private individual”. The Hungarian Interchurch Aid receives substantial funding from the government and operates with a HUF 2-billion annual budget.
According to the documents, László Lehel was recruited on 25th of April 1983 under the cover name “Filozófus” (Philiospher). He joined the organisation by his own will due to “patriotism” and his main assignment was to report about the reactionary figures and tendencies within the Hungarian Lutheran Church. Lehel was appointed general secretary of the Eucumenic Councul of the Hungarian Churches in 1988 and he allegedly collaborated with the Communist regime even on the eve of its collapse. László Prőhle, supervisor of the Hungarian Lutheran Church confirmed that there was an agent indeed in the church with name “Philiospher” in the 1980s. He added the case of the Mr. Lehel needs to be further investigated.
The so-called “agent question” is one of the most poisoning debates in Hungarian politics. Although the communist regime collapsed 27 years ago, historical documents about the secret services have not been disclosed for the public and the researchers by neither of the democratically elected Hungarian governments since 1990. It is widely seen that several top level public servants, including politicians and church leaders, would be affected by the opening of the Communist secret services’ archives.