By now I don’t even know what to think of Hungarian judges. The latest is that the case of the professional "revolutionary," György Budaházy, ended with a not guilty verdict. The charge was that Budaházy actively called for the forcible overthrow of a democratically elected government.
Budaházy first appeared on the scene as one of the leading members of the Hungarian far right when in 2002, shortly after the Fidesz lost the general elections, he organized a blockade of one the bridges between Buda and Pest. The inexperienced Hungarian police must have spent at least four hours before they managed to remove Budaházy and his handful of followers and the traffic, which had come to a standstill in the entire city, began to flow again. Nothing happened to Budaházy then . . . and the drumbeat goes on.
Budaházy had several brushes with the law. At one point when it looked as if he were going to be arrested, our hero disappeared. The police looked for him for months until he appeared with a ridiculous wig during the 2006 disturbances and was discovered. During his time in hiding he played games with the authorities. He sent thirteen letters, one more inflammatory than the next, to one of the most right-wing internet sites, the kuruc.info. The prosecutor at the trial which began on January 23 and ended yesterday, read Budaházy’s epistles for over an hour. In them, he outlined how to build barricades and argued how important it is to have bullet-proof vests. He asserted that "a patriotic dictatorship is much better than a democracy which squanders the future," along with many other equally interesting slogans. He envisaged "commando units that will destroy the enemies," he urged people to blockade the capital, praised stones and Molotov cocktails that would ensure the patriots’ victory over the people’s enemies. He told the democratically elected politicians and officials "to vanish, if they want to save their lives." The parliament should be forcibly dispersed and, once the democratic regime collapsed, a "sacred leadership," whatever this means, would be established.
The presiding judge admitted that Budaházy overstepped the boundaries of what is acceptable as free speech but, after all, his calls for the overthrow of the government remained unanswered. That to me means that he is not guilty because he wasn’t successful. I guess if the commando units had blockaded the capital, dispersed the parliament and killed some uncooperative politicians, perhaps something could have been done in a court of law. However, I’m afraid by then it would be too late. The judges would be part of the "sacred leadership." (Maybe they are already; they’re certainly not part of the intellectual leadership.)
The prosecutors are appealing the case. And we just stand dumbfounded.