The Municipal Court of Budapest has upheld a previous judgement sentencing three men who committed a racially motivated killing spree against Roma people to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The fourth member of the gang also had his 13-year sentence upheld by the court.
The case could continue further at the Curia, Hungary’s Supreme Court, which will issue a final, unappealable judgement, after it was claimed by the court today that the three defendants sentenced to life imprisonment may still exploit a further possibility of appeal.
Brothers István and Árpád Kiss, together with Zsolt Pető, committed attacks against houses inhabited by Roma families in nine villages across Hungary in 2008 and 2009, which saw six people – including a child – killed and five others seriously injured. The men fired a total of 78 shots and threw eleven Molotov cocktails, endangering the physical integrity of a total of fifty-five people. Their accomplice István Csontos took part in the two final attacks as a driver.
The neo-Nazi gang carried out the attacks in nine remote villages in eastern Hungary between 21 July 2008 and 3 August 2009.
A court of first instance handed full-life sentences, the most serious punishment under Hungarian law, to the Kiss brothers and Zsolt Pető on 6 August 2013. Csontos was given a 13-year prison sentence for his role in the crimes. However, the defendants appealed the first-instance ruling, claiming that procedural irregularities diverted the cause of justice.
photo: MTI/Balázs Mohai