Debates on whether Hungary’s penal laws are strict enough have flared up in connection with the recent murder of a young tobacconist in south-west Hungary. A public discussion of capital punishment should “stay on the agenda”, PM Viktor Orbán said in Pécs. Passage of a “three strikes” law and real life prison sentences have not been sufficient to deter criminals, he said, adding that debates concerning the possible re-introduction of the capital punishment should continue. “It must be made clear to criminals that Hungary will use all means to protect its citizens,” Orbán said. Antal Rogán, head of Fidesz’s parliamentary group, said a debate on the death penalty was “legitimate”. The recent murder of a young tobacconist for “a mere 22,000 forints” (73 euros) is exactly the kind of thing that “automatically makes one think that this warrants a death penalty”. A public debate is legitimate because the Hungarian public “has never had the chance to decide about this,” he argued.
The left-wing opposition Democratic Coalition said in response that Viktor Orbán had taken up the topic of capital punishment as a gesture to radical nationalist party Jobbik, “sinking morally even deeper” in the process. Not only does the death penalty not exist in the European Union but it does not in a single European country either, Csaba Molnár, the party’s deputy leader, said. The Együtt party said that “in pursuit of a petty political gain,” Orbán had become “more Jobbik than Jobbik” and was making ever more extreme statements in a bid to restore his popularity. Együtt said that the prime minister should be aware that such a move as restoring the death penalty would have unforeseeable international legal consequences and would in effect mean Hungary being excluded from the EU.The Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party called on the prime minister to drop his “cynical game” of “stealing Jobbik’s lunatic ideas”.
via hungarymatters.hu photo: György Varga – MTI