What is happening, I asked, when I heard that Gergely Varga, the spokesman for the Budapest prosecutor’s office and himself a prosecutor, just lost his job. Wasn’t it only three weeks ago that he was named spokesman? Do I remember wrong? No, I saw an interview with him on Nap-Kelte accompanied by his boss, the chief prosecutor of Budapest.
This public appearance of Varga, as it turns out, caused his downfall. Last December he happened to be present one day at the trial of four policemen accused of brutality against defenseless civilians. Civilians who were already handcuffed. Varga, claiming inside information, announced to a group of people, witnesses present in the courtroom, that the accused policemen were not the real perpetrators. He purported to know who the guilty ones were. And then he disappeared. A couple of months later when his appointment was announced, the witnesses who had heard his boasting recognized him. Moreover, these people already had a tape recording of the exchange which they passed on to the Index, an internet newspaper.
According to Sándor Ihász, his boss, Varga couldn’t have known anything about the case because he was working in one of the Budapest district offices and not where the actual investigation took place. According to Ihász, the fellow just talked, unfortunately in an irresponsible manner. His accusation gave rise to the speculation that the prosecutors were not investigating with all necessary vigor the case of the allegedly guilty policemen. A rather devastating possibility.
However, I don’t think that the police force needs much help from the prosecutors. It is almost impossible to arrive at the truth in this case. The verdict is in: out of the four accused three were found innocent and one received a suspended sentence. However, the two presiding judges point blank told the court that they are certain that some of the sixteen policemen who were there as witnesses didn’t tell the truth since it is hard to imagine that sixteen people saw nothing whatsoever when one of the victims, Angel Mendoza, a Peruvian living in Hungary, received very serious injuries, including a broken nose accompanied by profuse bleeding. From the description it seems that this Peruvian, fairly dark skinned with an accent, received the worst of the blows. I do hope that it was not because of his skin color and foreign origin.