Criminal cases have been dropped against most of the Iranian students who had been expelled from Hungary a few months ago for violating quarantine rules, and Hungarian authorities have also begun to revoke the official decision of their expulsion, the Interior Ministry confirmed to news site Direkt36.
A total of nineteen students are affected, including four Iranians who have not yet been deported from Hungary.
In their case, “the criminal proceedings were terminated, the expulsions were revoked, their passports were returned,” said Kata Nehéz-Posony, a lawyer from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), a human rights organization representing one of the Iranian students.
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The ministry wrote to Direkt36 that out of the other 15 students, the application for the lifting of entry and residence ban was submitted by 12 persons who were already deported, and the applications were being processed.
On March 4th, two Iranian students were the first to be diagnosed with Covid-19 in Hungary. After their close contacts had been identified, they, along with dozens of their fellow medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry students were all quarantined at St. László Hospital.
However, a few days later they were accused of violating quarantine rules, as according to the authorities, they had left their rooms and behaved aggressively with healthcare staff. As a result, at first two, then thirteen, and finally four more students were expelled from the country. The students denied all allegations.
According to the Interior Ministry, the reason for the turnaround is a change in legislation, under which ongoing criminal proceedings for violation of epidemic control regulations have been reclassified as misdemeanor.
There are four Iranians who have not yet been deported from Hungary and are still in Budapest, and are no longer charged with a criminal offense, but they are still suspected of infringement and their new residence permits are still pending.
At the same time, the Ministry also informed Direkt36 that among the nineteen students, there are four more who are still being charged for public nuisance committed in a group.
According to the portal’s information, the police suspect the two men and two women of committing the alleged crime at St. László Hospital.
After the deportation, the Iranian foreign ministry took action to try to get the expulsion revoked, while the students, in addition to the Iranian foreign cabinet, even approached the president’s office with their complaints. The rector of Semmelweis University- where most of the Iranian students studied- also attended to their case.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI